Kobe Steel shares hit lowest in nearly 5 yrs as cheating crisis deepens

TOKYO, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Shares of Kobe Steel Ltd slid more than 3 percent on Monday, hitting their lowest level in nearly 5 years, after the cheating crisis engulfing Japan's third-biggest steelmaker deepened last week.

Kobe Steel shares were down 1.86 percent at 789.0 yen as of 0024 GMT after hitting the lowest since Dec. 12, 2012 of 774.0 yen earlier in the session. The broader Tokyo stock market was up 0.44 percent, touching a 21-year high.

Kobe Steel Chief Executive Hiroya Kawasaki on Friday revealed that about 500 companies had received its falsely certified products, more than double its earlier count, confirming widespread wrongdoing at the steelmaker.

(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi and Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Stephen Coates)