TOKYO, March 14 (AFP): Japan's powerful trade ministry said Monday that one of its officials had made a profit by selling shares of a company whose takeover deal he reviewed, in the first known case of insider trading in the government.
"I can't think of a word to express my apologies to the public. I am deeply sorry for the incident," said Vice Minister Hideji Sugiyama, the top-ranking civil servant at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The ministry said the allegation was made by the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission and that the watchdog has sent the case to prosecutors who will decide on charges.
A source close to the matter said the official involved was believed to have earned 2.8 million yen (27,000 dollars) trading stocks using information gained after being assigned to review a takeover bid by an Eastman Kodak unit for Chinon Industries.
The ministry statement expressed "extreme regret".