Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:
Prosecutors are seeking 15 years in prison for Kazuhiko Asakawa, the president AIJ Investment Advisors Co. For defrauding some 17 pension funds of •24.8bn. Mr. Asakawa admitted to a cover up in March 2012 according to Reuters report. At that time he apologized and said he had no intention of cheating his clients. The losses were the result of bad bets on bonds and some equities.
Asakawa was arrested in 2012 and according to police comments at the time there was suspicion of a broader conspiracy. Now that the case is before the court, the Japan Times prosecutors are taking a hard line. Charges also include requests for jail time for Mr. Asakawa's colleagues, Shigeko Takahashi and Hideaki Nishimura.
If they prove their case the three defendants may also have to pay up to •21.8bn in fines. Nishimura has also admitted to some of the charges however, Takahashi who was a secretary in the firm denies involvement. The case went before the court in December and is expected to wrap up in the coming weeks now that prosecutors have made their closing arguments.
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