Tokyo: French bank BNP Paribas is suspected of manipulating stock prices on the Tokyo market and may face a "severe" punishment by Japan`s financial watchdog, a report said Thursday.
The Tokyo branch of BNP Paribas Securities (Japan) Ltd. allegedly manipulated the stock price of Internet and telecommunications giant Softbank Corp. and disrupted trading on the Tokyo bourse, the Asahi Shimbun said.
The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is probing the French company and plans to ask the Financial Services Agency (FSA) to take administrative action, the daily said without naming its sources.
The agency is likely to consider "severe punishment, including a possible suspension of business operations," it said.
BNP Paribas has already been in trouble with the Japanese authorities.
In November the FSA slapped a business improvement order on it in connection with a secret derivatives agreement with now-bankrupt property developer Urban Corp.
The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission has decided to also recommend administrative action against BNP Paribas Securities for a falsified document relating to Urban Corp., the Nikkei business daily reported.
Daniel Boyd, a spokesman at BNP Paribas Securities in Tokyo, said he was unable to comment on the allegations.
"We have not been officially notified by the authorities," he told AFP.