Adio stiri bomba/ exclusivitate, in Japonia:Three NHK employees accused of insider trading
Saturday, January 19th, 2008
Three employees of NHK, Japan’s public broadcasting company, have been arrested on charges of insider trading. Japanese media reports said that the three employees, including a 33-year-old reporter at NHK’s headquarters, found a news report through NHK’s internal news editing system before it was broadcast at 3 pm on 8 March last year, and purchased and resold stocks to gain a profit of 100,000 to 400,000 yen.
The news report was about listed-restaurant chain operator Zensho’s plans to acquire shares of a sushi restaurant chain. The three employees reportedly received the information at 2:38 pm, 22 minutes before the broadcast, and purchased 1,000 to 3,000 shares using cell phones or their personal computers, all before the exchange closed at 3 pm.
Though only 5,000 of NHK’s 11,000 employees are given passwords to access prepared new reports, there is no written regulation prohibiting insider trading or stock trading. Only reporters in charge of economic news are told not to be involved in stock trading.
Japan’s Securities and Exchange Commission is expanding its investigation to find out if there were accomplices given that two of three arrested staff worked at different local broadcast stations and had no acquaintance with each other.
The commission launched its investigation taking note of the fact that Zensho’s share prices skyrocketed and trading volumes doubled compared to the previous day’s close, even though the news about the acquisition went public at 3:15 pm.
“We don’t believe only three staffers were involved in the crime. The public will be assured that all of the 5,000 employees who have access to the editing system will be investigated,” said Maseda Hiroya, a general manager of NHK, at a news conference yesterday. He called for a thorough internal probe and the publications of their findings.
NHK reportedly plans to set up an internal unit consisting of directors and lawyers to punish employees involved and draw up regulations to ban employees from trading stocks. “It is unforgivable that someone working in the media, which requires a high sense of ethics, abused information for personal gain,” said NHK Chairman Genichi Hashimoto, as he apologized to viewers.
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