November 29, 2018 / 6:36 AM / 11 days ago

Japan central banker mum on alleged involvement in Ghosn transaction

FILE PHOTO: Bank of Japan's (BOJ) new board member Takako Masai attends a news conference at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

FUKUOKA, Japan (Reuters) - A Bank of Japan board member declined on Thursday to comment on a media report that she was involved in an alleged attempt by former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn to shift personal investment losses to the automaker during her time at a commercial bank.

Japanese tabloid Shukan Bunshun reported on Thursday that as an executive at Shinsei Bank Ltd (8303.T), Takako Masai was involved in an alleged attempt by Ghosn to pass on 1.7 billion yen (11.7 million pounds) in personal derivatives-trading losses incurred during the 2008 financial crisis to Nissan. The suspected transaction was first reported by the Asahi newspaper on Tuesday.

“I’d like to refrain from commenting about individual transactions due to my duty of confidentiality,” Masai told a news conference after meeting with business executives in Fukuoka, southern Japan.

“I also cannot comment on individual transactions made by Shinsei Bank.” The bank also declined to comment on the Shukan Bunshun report.

Quoting an unnamed former Shinsei Bank official, the tabloid said a team of the bank’s officials including Masai sought to have Ghosn’s investment losses passed on to the automaker on condition that he get approval from Nissan’s board.

The attempt was later aborted after securities regulators inspected Shinsei Bank and Nissan, and disapproved of the idea, the tabloid said.

Masai joined the BOJ in 2016 after serving as an executive at Shinsei Bank from 2007.

Reporting by Leika Kihara, additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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