* Ex-Deutsche banker given 10-month suspended sentence for bribery of pension official
* Judge says other execs “tacitly condoned” wining and dining of official
* Judge says evidence does not suggest problem was “company-wide” (Adds comments from judge, sentenced Deutsche salesman)
By Nathan Layne
TOKYO, July 16 (Reuters) - A Tokyo judge on Wednesday handed a former Deutsche Bank salesman a suspended prison sentence for bribing a pension fund official with dinners and golf outings, and said more senior officials at the bank had “tacitly condoned” the practice.
Akira Ando, the judge overseeing the case at the Tokyo District Court, gave Shigeru Echigo, who worked at the Japanese investment arm of Deutsche Bank, a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for three years.
The judge also said there was evidence that senior managers at Deutsche Securities knew their staff were entertaining pension fund officials to gain business, but said there was no proof that Echigo had been given explicit instructions to bribe the official at the centre of this case.
“It is impossible to state definitively that this was a company-wide problem,” judge Ando added.
Deutsche Securities spokesman Takayuki Inoue has declined to comment on the case.
The 37-year-old former salesman at Deutsche Securities had pleaded guilty in April for charging about $9,000 to the bank to entertain a former official at a pension fund affiliated with trading house Mitsui & Co in 2012, in order to secure investments. The official, Yutaka Tsurisawa, was convicted of taking bribes and given an 18-month suspended sentence in March.
The Mitsui-affiliated fund managed public money as part of its investment portfolio. Under Japanese law, executives of such funds are treated as public servants, who are not allowed to accept payments, or gifts, of any kind.
At a hearing last month, Echigo claimed entertaining clients was widespread within Deutsche Securities Inc, and that high-ranking officials were aware of the practice, including current president Makoto Kuwahara.
“It’s significant that it was recognised that it wasn’t just me,” Echigo told reporters after he was sentenced.
In December, Japan’s financial regulator announced a raft of measures to bolster Deutsche Securities’ compliance after censuring it for entertaining pension fund officials.
Tokyo bankers have said wining and dining of such pension fund officials was common before a 2012 scandal involving fund manager AIJ Investment Advisors sparked a regulatory crackdown.
Echigo said he was not planning to appeal the court decision, but said he was considering a civil case against Deutsche Securities. He did not elaborate. (Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Miral Fahmy)