SoftBank says former employee arrested on suspicion of leaking company info

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at the SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - A former employee of SoftBank Group Corp's 9984.T wireless business has been arrested on suspicion of leaking company information, the telecommunications firm said on Saturday.

SoftBank Corp 9434.T said it had dismissed the former manager after it became aware of the alleged theft, adding that none of the stolen information was highly confidential.

The former employee is suspected of passing information to Russia’s trade mission in Japan in exchange for money, the Nikkei newspaper reported, citing the police.

A Tokyo police spokesman declined to confirm those exact details but said a 48-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of illicitly accessing company servers and stealing trade secrets.

The Nikkei reported that the police also want to speak to trade mission staff it believes are involved in the incident and is requesting the return to Japan of staff no longer in the country via the foreign ministry.

“We regret the Japanese side has joined anti-Russian speculation that is trendy in the West on the threadbare theme of spy hysteria,” the Russian Embassy in Japan said in a post on Twitter.

“This contradicts the line agreed by Moscow and Tokyo towards establishment of a positive atmosphere for improving bilateral cooperation and resolving uneasy issues on the joint agenda,” the post continued.

SoftBank said the former manager had been in charge of improving construction-related efficiencies at its telecoms facilities.

Reporting by Sam Nussey in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Hugh Lawson