Evicted From United States, Daiwa Ignominiously Closes Its Business
NEW YORK (AP) _ Daiwa Bank Ltd. of Japan on Friday closed an ill-fated chapter in its overseas business, formally shutting its U.S. operations in compliance with a government-ordered eviction from the United States.
The bank, based in Osaka, said it completed the sale of branches in 15 U.S. cities and most of its loans and related assets to Sumitomo Bank Ltd. for $3.37 billion.
Federal and state banking regulators had ordered Daiwa to shut down its U.S. operations by Friday as punishment for conspiring to hide $1.1 billion in bond-trading losses from U.S. regulators.
Daiwa, which has denied any wrongdoing, also faces U.S. criminal charges stemming from the scandal. A trial is scheduled to begin March 6.
``This is a sad moment for Daiwa,″ said Takashi Kaiho, president of Daiwa, in a statement released Friday night. ``We have spent four decades serving the needs of corporate and individual clients in the United States and are sorry to be leaving what was an important market for our bank.
``Turning to the future, we will continue to focus all of our energies on our home market and Southeast Asia,″ he said. ``Entering this new era, Daiwa hopes to regain the confidence of the international financial community by conducting itself in every respect as a model corporate citizen.″
Spokespeople for the Federal Reserve and the New York State Banking Department, which served the eviction notice three months ago, declined to comment.
The $3.37 billion paid by Sumitomo includes $65 million for Daiwa commercial bank branches and most of the Daiwa Bank Trust Co. subsidiary. The remaining $3.3 billion is in exchange for an equal amount of Daiwa’s loans and related assets.
Daiwa said it returned all of its state and federal banking licenses and said it also took steps to dissolve its Daiwa Bank Trust business.
Not included in Friday’s sale is Daiwa’s New York retail bank operation, where a rogue trader, Toshihide Iguchi, accumulated the trading losses over a 12-year period. Daiwa is closing that branch. About 120 of Daiwa’s 400 workers in the U.S. are employed in New York.
Iguchi has pleaded guilty to securities fraud and other charges and is awaiting sentencing.