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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 06:08 GMT 07:08 UK
Top Japanese fund manager charged
Yoshiaki Murakami
Mr Murakami said he acted unwittingly
One of Japan's leading financiers has been charged with insider trading in relation to share deals involving internet business Livedoor.

Prosecutors have indicted Yoshiaki Murakami, who is currently under arrest, after pursuing a criminal complaint from stock market regulators.

Mr Murakami has admitted he was guilty of insider trading when buying shares in Nippon Broadcasting System in 2005.

He said he bought shares knowing that Livedoor would buy a stake in the firm.

Livedoor fallout

Mr Murakami is then understood to have sold shares to Livedoor, the once high-flying internet business which has become immersed in scandal, through his investment firm MAC Asset Management.

If convicted, Mr Murakami - who said he acted unwittingly - could face up to three years in prison and a fine of 3 million yen ($25,900).

His company could face financial penalties of up to $2.5m.

Prosecutors said Mr Murakami's company bought shares worth $8.5m in Nippon, which soon after became the subject of a fierce takeover battle between Livedoor and Fuji Television.

The fallout from Livedoor's spectacular rise and fall has affected Japan's whole financial community.

Four former Livedoor executives are currently on trial accused of fraud and falsifying corporate accounts, while the firm's founder Takafumi Horie has been charged with breaking securities laws.

Japan's central bank governor, Toshihiko Fukui, has been heavily criticised for investing in high-risk funds run by Mr Murakami.

Mr Fukui has apologised for his actions, amid calls from ministers for him to restore the institution's credibility.

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