Japan watchdog files charges against SMBC Nikko with prosecutors

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SMBC Nikko Securities' logo is pictured at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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TOKYO, March 23 (Reuters) - Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission on Wednesday filed criminal charges with Tokyo prosecutors against SMBC Nikko Securities and seven of its employees over alleged market manipulation.

The brokerage unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (8316.T) bought stocks on the market through proprietary trading allegedly to push up prices so that block trade deals for those stocks would not fall through, the watchdog said.

SMBC Nikko said it took the criminal charge seriously and pledged to work with the watchdog.

Following the securities watchdog's filing, Tokyo prosecutors plan to bring charges against Japan's third-largest brokerage house and those employees on Thursday, Japanese media reported.

Prosecutors this month arrested four executives from SMBC Nikko, including Trevor Hill, senior managing executive officer, and Alexandre Avakiants, executive officer.

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Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; editing by Jason Neely, Kirsten Donovan

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