Questions Raised on Purchases of Tokyo Electric Power Shares

“There’s somebody out there that holds a whale of a position, and structured the position in such a way that they don’t have to file” a mandatory disclosure.

TEPCO’s Twin Tower power station in Yokohama
Wikimedia Commons image

Keith Bradsher
New York Times

TOKYO — Japanese regulators and executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company are asking questions about a seemingly coordinated series of stock purchases two weeks ago that led to an undisclosed buyer or buyers acquiring a large bloc of the utility, which owns Japan’s dangerously damaged nuclear power plant.

Regulators want to know whether the trades, valued at up to $600 million and placed from Hong Kong during the week of April 3, were structured to circumvent Japanese securities laws, which require the owner of more than 5 percent of a publicly traded company to file disclosure papers identifying the shareholder.

Depending on the prices at which the buy orders were executed, they could add up to nearly 10 percent of Tepco’s shares.

The trading and the questions surrounding it were described by a senior executive in an interview here. The executive insisted on anonymity to protect business and government connections.

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