Japan regulator probes asset manager over missing funds -source

TOKYO, April 26 Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:32pm EDT

TOKYO, April 26 (Reuters) - Japan's securities regulator is investigating U.S.-based asset manager MRI International Inc on suspicion that it submitted false reports on its performance and that some of its client assets have disappeared, a source with knowledge of the probe said.

The Securities Exchange and Surveillance Commission will recommend penalties against MRI - which according to the company's website had 136.5 billion yen ($1.4 billion) in client assets at the end of last year - as early as Friday, the source said.

No one at MRI could be reached for comment. At a press conference earlier on Friday, Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said he was aware of media reports about the MRI investigation but could not comment further.