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Prosecution seeks jail term for ex-Credit Suisse manager in Japan

Shinji Yamada faces a jail term.

(Keystone / AP Photo / Yomiuri Shimbun / Masanori Genko)

A former manager of Credit Suisse in Japan is facing a possible jail sentence for his role in a recent financial scandal at one of the bank's subsidiaries. Prosecutors in Tokyo are demanding a four-month prison term for Shinji Yamada.

Yamada was arrested a year ago on suspicion of hampering a seven-month Japanese investigation into possible shady dealings at Credit Suisse Financial Products (CSFP). He's accused of supplying false information to investigators and attempting to conceal documents.

"The accused played a key role and carries a large measure of responsibility," assistant chief prosecutor, Koichi Ueda, told the court at the end of Yamada's trial.

The Japanese financial authorities launched their investigation into CSFP last year in the light of suspicions that it was helping financially troubled Japanese banks to conceal losses abroad.

Swissinfo's Tokyo correspondent, Georges Baumgartner, says Credit Suisse "was not the only bank to help Japanese companies to hide their losses abroad," but he says Credit Suisse did it on a massive scale, resulting in "billions of US dollars in bad debts".

However, he says, Credit Suisse was not acting illegally, but rather in a dubious manner.

Credit Suisse later admitted that its own investigations had shown that a number of employees had tried to hamper the Japanese audit by hiding or destroying documentation.

Following the scandal, CSFP lost its licence to operate in Japan. Earlier this year, Credit Suisse named a new head for its operations in Japan in a bid to improve its tarnished image in the country.

Baumgartner says "it's still too early to say" if the new administrator will be successful in repairing the bank's damaged reputation in Japan.

swissinfo with agencies

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