Japan Times : Citibank Japan ordered to close four offices over legal breaches

Citibank Japan, part of U.S. banking giant Citigroup, has been ordered by regulators to close four key offices in connection with multiple violations of laws and regulations, the Financial Services Agency said Friday.
Citing compliance and governance problems, the FSA ordered Citibank to suspend all new operations beginning Sept. 29 at its branch in the Marunouchi business district of Tokyo, and at its offices in Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka. All of these offices deal exclusively in private banking for wealthy customers who have more than 300 million yen in net assets.

The FSA will then revoke the licenses of the four branches on Sept. 30, 2005, thereby finalizing their closure.
An FSA investigation, undertaken between November and April, has revealed that bank employees on different occasions violated laws and regulations.

These acts included providing money to clients who were subsequently prosecuted for stock price manipulation; defrauding customers of more than 1.8 billion yen in foreign currency deposits; lending money to beef up documents to borrow public funds from a municipality; and taking customers' passwords out of the office.
BBC News : Japan closes Citigroup branches

The decision means fresh embarrassment for Citigroup, which earlier this week admitted that it had erred in a massive bond deal in Europe last month.
"In a management environment in which profits are given undue importance by the bank's headquarters, a law-evading sales system that disregards the laws and regulations of Japan was constructed," the FSA said.

Bank staff and managers, it added, had "obstructed inspectors", while responses to official inquiries "differed from the truth".
That does not ease the claim that Citibank has been involved in Japan's war plunder recovered by some US officials or the Marcos family, as was claimed by the Sterlings in their book Gold Warriors