Speaking publicly for the first time since the investment advisory firm AIJ made headlines for losing client funds, the company president, Kazuhiko Asakawa, said that while he did cover up losses of $1.3 billion, he had never intended to cheat his customers and had been confident that the firm could recover the money.
Reuters reported Tuesday that Asakawa appeared in Tokyo before a parliamentary financial committee, where he apologized for his actions. Losses on equity and bond derivatives claimed much of the $2.4 billion in client assets that AIJ managed, according to Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).
“I want to use this opportunity to apologize to all beneficiaries who believed in our funds and purchased them,” Asakawa was quoted saying. In answer to a question from the committee, he replied, “I didn’t want to return the money to clients at a loss. I’m deeply sorry, but I had absolutely no intention to cheat our clients from the beginning.”
He produced a falsified investment report, he said, by inflating the asset size and investment results to cover up the fact that his fund was running at a loss.