UPDATE 1-Nomura to pay $480 mln to resolve U.S. RMBS claims

(Adds statement from U.S. Attorney, detail)

NEW YORK, Oct 16 (Reuters) - A unit of Nomura Holdings Inc has agreed to pay $480 million to resolve civil claims by the U.S. government that it misled investors in marketing residential mortgage-backed securities, U.S. authorities said on Tuesday.

Authorities said that from 2006 to 2007, Nomura knowingly securitized defective mortgage loans and misled investors about their quality. The settlement stems from an investigation by federal prosecutors in New York.

"This settlement holds Nomura accountable for its fraudulent conduct in connection with its residential mortgage-backed securities offerings, which caused substantial harm to investors and contributed to the financial crisis of 2008," U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, whose office conducted the probe, said in a statement.

Nomura had no immediate comment. According to the statement from Donoghue's office, it disputes the accusations.

Authorities accused Nomura of falsely telling investors that it conducted extensive due diligence on the home loans that it securitized, when in fact they did not comply with underwriting guidelines or relied on fraudulent appraisals.

Nomura's misconduct caused "significant losses" for its investors, which included retirement funds and university endowments, according to Donoghue's office. (Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)