Matsushita Executive Resigns Over Subsidiary’s Loan Scandal
TOKYO (AP) _ A vice president of the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. has resigned to take responsibility for a subsidiary’s involvement in a loan scandal, company officials said Tuesday.
Officials of Matsushita, one of the world’s largest consumer electronics makers, said Shoji Sakuma resigned and that another vice president, Masahiko Hirata, was demoted to managing director.
National Leasing Co., a Matsushita subsidiary, was among several companies hurt by defaults on a large amount of loans provided to Nui Onoue, an Osaka restaurateur once reputed to be the largest individual stock investor in Japan.
Onoue is on trial in the Osaka District Court on forgery and fraud charges for allegedly using fake bank deposit certificates as collateral to obtain $3.17 billion in loans from banks, credit unions and leasing companies. Matsushita declined to disclose how much National Leasing lost on the loans.
Sakuma’s was the latest in a series of resignations by senior executives since last summer, when a number of financial scandals surfaced as a result of the collapse of the speculative boom in Japan known as the ″bubble economy.″
Top executives of three major Japanese banks - Fuji, Tokai and Kyowa Saitama - have stepped down after acknowledging that their banks issued bogus deposit certificates.
Finance Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto resigned last October following criticism that his ministry had been lax in overseeing the finance industry.