- CRIME ＆ COURTS
Tokyo Man Regrets Transporting ¥70 Million Tied to Fraud Case
14:54 JST, February 7, 2023
A man in his 50s residing in Tokyo transported some ¥70 million in cash, believed to have been taken from fraud victims, to the Philippines, he has told The Yomiuri Shimbun. The fraud in question allegedly involves four Japanese men detained in the Philippines.
The Japanese man, who runs a store in the Philippines, was asked to help transport cash by a Filipino acquaintance in the summer of 2019. After he accepted the request, he was contacted by a Japanese man who identified himself as “Eito,” he said.
Once or twice a week at a hotel or another location in Tokyo, he received bills bundled in the currency straps of local banks from another man who was not Eito. Around September that year, he delivered a total of about ¥70 million in cash to the Philippines in five or six trips and gave the cash to a Filipino man who came to pick him up at the airport.
In the Philippines, he was shown pictures of Eito and told that the money would be used for a Philippine woman to purchase an abandoned hotel in a suburb of Manila. In November that year, a Japanese fraud group that was using the abandoned hotel as a base was cracked down on by local authorities, and the man was arrested by Hiroshima prefectural police in January 2020 on a charge of theft on suspicion of involvement in the fraud.
Although the man was not indicted, he regretted that he “ended up participating in the fraud.” Through subsequent local news reports, he learned that “Eito” was suspect Tomonobu Kojima and that the Philippine woman who purchased the abandoned hotel was the wife of suspect Yuki Watanabe.
It was also learned that Watanabe’s former girlfriend delivered ¥20 million in cash, secured through fraud, to the Philippines in April 2019. There is a strong possibility that the one or more individuals calling themselves “Luffy” or “Kim” used similar methods to have money earned from robberies transported to the Philippines.
Yusei Nishimoto, 22, a resident of Osaka City suspected of committing robbery and causing injury in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, last December, stayed in the Philippines for about three weeks from Jan. 9, and was arrested upon his return to Japan. The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the possibility that he may have transported cash.
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