Japan finmin: will mull penalty against Mizuho after panel report


Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Monday that he would consider penalty against Mizuho Financial Group <8411.T> over a loans-to-mobsters scandal after closely examining a report issued by an outside panel earlier in the day.

Mizuho has been under fire after regulators last month reprimanded it for failing to terminate loans to members of organized crime syndicates for more than two years after it found about them.

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Aso's remark appeared to indicate that the Financial Services Agency may not force any harsher punishments on Mizuho after having ordered the bank to improve business practices as the lender did almost nothing about the mob lending for more than two years.

Aso, who is also financial services minister, was speaking to reporters after receiving a report from the external panel of lawyers hired by Mizuho, which said Japan's second-biggest bank by assets did not intentionally cover up the shady lending.

(Reporting by Shinji Kitamura; Writing by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Shinichi Saoshiro)