Japan securities watchdog recommends punishment of Credit Suisse unit

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's securities watchdog on Friday recommended a Japanese unit of Credit Suisse Group AG be punished after ruling that the brokerage provided information to clients without using the required internal clearance channels.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) said it found through an investigation that information about Japanese companies gathered by analysts at Credit Suisse Securities was transferred to their clients without passing through internal controls.

In one case, the regulator said, it found an analyst passed information about a company's earnings announcement, prior to the latter's public disclosure, to a sales division employee who passed the information on to at least one client.

Credit Suisse Securities said in a statement it would take the punishment recommendation seriously, and will continue efforts to strengthen its internal controls. It didn't comment on specific examples cited by the SESC.

The regulator's recommendation has been passed on to Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), responsible for imposing any sanctions on those found to have broken securities rules in the country.

The FSA will decide on the imposition of any punishment in the coming weeks. Sanctions can include the imposition of a mandatory business improvement order, among other things.

(Reporting By Takahiko Wada, Thomas Wilson and Junko Fujita; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)