AIJ president pleads guilty to pension fund fraud
The president of AIJ Investment Advisers on Wednesday pleaded guilty to swindling 24.8 billion yen from 17 pension funds. Kazuhiko Asakawa, 60, president of AIJ Investment Advisers, and three of his associates were arrested earlier this year for fraud after the asset management company lost around 109.2 billion yen in pension fund money.
Prosecutors told the Tokyo District Court that Asakawa and the others conspired to defraud cash in the name of pension fund management and lied in June and July 2011 by saying the retirement assets had steadily risen in value when, in reality, they had tumbled, a police spokesman said.
Asakawa admitted that he inflated investment returns but denied that he tried to deceive clients. “I didn’t want to use inflated figures for the pension funds, but I did not want to come back with losses, no matter what,” he said. “I was confident of recouping the losses.”
AIJ’s operations were suspended in February in a scandal that has rocked Japan where a rapidly aging population is increasingly looking to private pension funds to help them through their retirement.
The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission said AIJ, which managed 145.8 billion yen in retirement funds, lost at least 109 billion yen in an alleged fraud that affected more than 880,000 policy holders.