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REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File PhotoJapan's trade ministry colluded with Toshiba Corp's (6502.T) management to unduly influence a key shareholder vote last year, an independent probe found, undermining Tokyo's efforts to improve corporate governance and win over foreign investors. Toshiba's management "worked closely" with the ministry to exert "undue influence on some shareholders," the report found. The probe, conducted by three lawyers, found that Toshiba, with the ministry, tried to force Effissimo to withdraw shareholder proposals for board nominees aimed at improving governance. The ministry has previously said that it never asked the adviser to contact Toshiba shareholders. CVC's offer to take the Japanese conglomerate private and retain incumbent management was perceived by some in the company as designed to shield Kurumatani from activist shareholders, Toshiba sources have said.
Persons: Toru Hanai, Toshiba Corp's, Shinzo Abe, METI, barbecuing, Toshiba's, Yoshihide Suga, Abe, Suga, Effissimo, Nobuaki Kurumatani Organizations: Toshiba Corp, REUTERS, Toshiba, Harvard, Ministry, Economy, Trade, Industry, Reuters, Effissimo Capital Management, Investment Partners, CVC Capital, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Japan, Singapore
The probe's findings mark an explosive turn in a long battle between the Japanese company's management and foreign shareholders, which include activist investors and Harvard University's endowment fund. The investigators also allege that Suga encouraged the pressure on Toshiba investors in a breakfast meeting with a senior company executive last July. A spokesperson for the Harvard fund declined to comment, while 3D did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Harvard fund ultimately abstained from voting. Toshiba said at the time it was not involved in any efforts to pressure Harvard.
Persons: Yoshihide Suga, Suga, METI, Toru Hanai, Shinzo Abe, barbecuing, Nicholas Benes, Will, Hiromichi Mizuno, Nobuaki Kurumatani Organizations: Toshiba Corp, Toshiba, Harvard, Ministry, Economy, Trade, Industry, Effissimo Capital Management, Reuters, REUTERS, Investment Partners, Training, of Japan, CVC Capital, Thomson Locations: Tokyo, Singapore, Japan
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