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Citigroup Appoints New Japan Markets Head After Libor Suspension

Citigroup Inc. appointed a new head of its Japanese markets business as Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit seeks to rebuild in the country after receiving the third regulatory punishment in seven years in December.

Suneel Bakhshi was appointed president and CEO of Citigroup Global Markets Japan, according to a statement on the New York-based bank’s website. Bakhshi is currently chief risk officer of Citigroup’s commercial bank, according to the statement.

Bakhshi is taking over duties from Brian Mccappin, who the bank said in December would resign after the unit was banned for two weeks from trading tied to the London and Tokyo interbank offered rates. Citigroup staff attempted to improperly influence the rates, the Japanese Financial Services Agency said. The bank was also suspended from soliciting sales of certain products to retail customers after failing to fully explain their risk.

Citigroup said Mccappin would resign after regulators announced the ban, and apologized to customers in a statement in response to the FSA’s allegations.

“Citibank Japan takes the administrative action very seriously and sincerely apologizes to its customers and all other concerned parties,” the company said on its website. “The bank is implementing measures to prevent future occurrence of the problems identified, and is committed to executing and completing the business improvement plan.”

Thirty Years

James “Jamie” Forese, head of Citigroup’s securities and banking unit, said in an internal memorandum obtained by Bloomberg News that Bakhshi has held several senior positions in trading, banking, and risk management during his 30-year career at Citigroup.

“His balanced viewpoint and broad skill set will help him provide great leadership for the CGMJ business as we move forward,” Forese said.

Danielle Romero-Apsilos, a spokeswoman for Citigroup, confirmed the memo’s contents. Shuntaro Higashi, the unit’s interim president and CEO, will continue as chairman of the business, according to the statement.

-- Editors: Steve Dickson, Dan Kraut

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