The president of a company at the centre of a Japanese pensions fund scandal said he was confident of recouping losses by continuing high-risk, high-return investments, reports said on Saturday.
Japan's securities watchdog on Friday raided investment company AIJ Investment Advisors, accused of losing 109.2 billion yen ($1.3 billion) of pension funds after exaggerating its performance to attract clients.
AIJ president Kazuhiko Asakawa had told the Sankei Shimbun before the raid on the Tokyo head office that he had been "confident" of recouping losses, the newspaper reported.
"We made miscalculations in investment and things went bad as a result. But I was confident of recovering it," the Sankei quoted him as saying in an interview with the paper.
AIJ's operations were suspended in February when the scandal surfaced, shocking Japan where a rapidly ageing population is increasingly looking to private pension funds as state schemes struggle due to mismanagement.
Asakawa, 59, said that he wanted to apologise to people who had trusted his firm but admitted he would still be continuing investing money if there had been no suspension order, according to the Sankei.
"I think I would have continued as I thought there were chances of winning. I'm not engaging in gambling. I also do some research work. I'm carrying on with the resolve that I lose only when I lose mentally," he reportedly said.
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Asakawa had told investigators from the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission that his firm had continued to invest in high-risk deals and most of them had been done under his instruction.
He reportedly regretted he did not have more money.
"I was operating in the belief that I will 'win' some day. I would have been able to rally if I had 10 billion yen more," he reportedly said during investigation by the securities watchdog.
The commission aims to file a criminal complaint against him as it suspects he had lied to clients for years, local media said.
The Mainichi Shimbun said the commission had found Asakawa and a director of the firm had earned a combined 4.5 billion yen in the nine years to March 2011 including "rewards" for successful investments.