Wal-Mart cooperating with Japanese investigation on trading probe

New York City Wal-Mart Stores said it is cooperating with an investigation by Japanese authorities amid reports of a probe into insider trading related to its takeover three years ago of Tokyo-based retailer Seiyu Ltd.

Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is investigating whether Seiyu employees carried out stock transactions with knowledge of the deal before it was announced, Kyodo News agency and other Japanese media reported.

A former Seiyu director is believed to have made about 10 million yen ($124,000) on stock dealings, according to Kyodo.

“We do not believe any current Seiyu associates were involved, Kevin Gardner, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in an email statement, according to Bloomberg. “We have fully cooperated with the authorities for their investigation and will continue to do so.”

Wal-Mart entered the Japan market in 2002, then gradually raised its stake in Seiyu. It had a 50.9% share when it announced the full takeover in 2007.

The day after the announcement, in which Wal-Mart said it would pay 140 yen per share, Seiyu's stock price rose from 87 yen to 117 yen, according to Kyodo. Seiyu was suffering deep losses at the time.