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Nomura CEO grilled over insider probe, but re-elected

TOKYO (Reuters) - Kenichi Watanabe was re-elected as CEO of Nomura Holdings <8604.T> on Wednesday despite a grilling from shareholders about the Japanese broker's slumping share price and his handling of a protracted insider trading probe.

The 59-year old bowed in apology at the annual shareholders' meeting at the Hotel Okura in central Tokyo and vowed to complete an internal investigation into the insider trading scandal as planned by the end of the month.

Earlier this month, Nomura acknowledged that its employees had tipped off clients about three planned company share offerings it underwrote in 2010, highlighting a serious breach in compliance at Japan's largest investment bank.

"It has been found that confidential information in three insider trading cases was leaked from Nomura," Watanabe said in his first public appearance since the first insider trading case was announced in late March. "We have caused worry and trouble, and for that I would like to humbly apologize."

Shareholders also voted to appoint 12 other directors including board chairman Nobuyuki Koga.

Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) had recommended shareholders vote against both Watanabe and Koga, arguing they should be held accountable for the scandal.

Nomura shares were up 1.8 percent at 280 yen in early afternoon trade, outperforming a 0.3 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average <.N225>.

Nomura has lost nearly half its market value since Watanabe took the helm four years ago - roughly in line with the stock performance of global rivals Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs .

(Reporting by Emi Emoto and Nathan Layne; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Ian Geoghegan)

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