Japan court fines Tokyo bourse over $526m bank blunder

TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese appeals court on Wednesday ordered the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) to pay S$135 million compensation over its failure to stop a S$526 million trade blunder in 2005, upholding the initial verdict.

The lawsuit against Asia's largest bourse was filed by Mizuho Securities - part of Japanese mega bank, Mizuho Financial Group - which demanded 41.5 billion yen (S$526 million) in compensation.

The Tokyo District Court ruled that the TSE must pay 10.7 billion yen (S$135 million) to the securities firm, saying Mizuho must bear part of the responsibility after one of its employees placed an erroneous - and very costly - order.

The trader punched in a sell order for 610,000 shares in a telecom firm at one yen each, instead of one share at 610,000 yen, briefly causing turmoil on the Tokyo bourse, whose head resigned soon afterwards to take responsibility.

The TSE had admitted that a fault in its system prevented the trader from cancelling his command, leaving his firm saddled with a loss of more than 40 billion yen.

Mizuho Securities said its claim against the TSE reflected losses on sales completed after the cancel instruction was made, and argued that the exchange was entirely culpable for the loss.

But the lower court said the trading firm bore some responsibility and the Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld that ruling.

Last month, a German court heard how a bank employee had fallen asleep on his keyboard and accidently transferred 222 million euros (S$370 million), instead of the 62.40 euros he had intended.