Source Pravda.Ru

Japan court convicts railroad billionaire

A Japanese court convicted resort and railroad tycoon Yoshiaki Tsutsumi of insider trading and falsifying company records, slapping him with a fine of €35,823 and a suspended prison sentence.

Tsutsumi, once ranked the world's richest man by Forbes magazine, had pleaded guilty to conspiring with several executives to falsify Seibu Railway's 2003 financial statement, putting the stake of Kokudo Corp., his privately owned company, in the railway far lower than actual numbers.

Tokyo District Court sentenced Tsutsumi to two years, six months in prison, suspended for four years. Seibu was given a €1.43 million fine, and Kokudo was fined €1.08 million.

"Tsutsumi played a leading role in the crimes as the head of his company group. The impact on society of crimes committed by such leading Japanese companies is very serious," said judge Tsutomu Tochigi. "His responsibility for ignoring his social and legal obligations is also serious."

The falsification was an attempt to hide the fact that a handful of top executives owned too much of the railway - a violation of stock trading rules - to ensure the company could stay listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Seibu, meanwhile, said it had learned its lesson from the trial, the AP reports.

V.Y.