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Osaka police want to freeze 1,300 accounts for money laundering

Osaka Prefecture police have asked financial institutions to freeze about 1,300 accounts misused by a group running a money laundering operation, investigative sources said Tuesday.

An individual believed to be a key member of a group involved in laundering the proceeds of criminal activities – 41-year-old Ryohei Fujii – has been arrested in connection with the scheme.

The group allegedly operates by opening bank accounts under the names of shell companies. It is believed to have managed around 4,000 accounts across around 500 such companies.

The accounts affected by the freeze included approximately 130 financial institutions and were active at the time the scheme came to light.

Such police requests are usually made on an individual basis. But in this case, police have taken the unusual step of requesting a blanket freeze on all accounts involved, the sources said.

The criminal group consisted of eight companies based in Tokyo and Toyama Prefecture, including one called Rivaton in Toyama city, which Fujii actually headed.

Between January and July last year, at least 70 billion yen ($450 million) in criminal proceeds were funneled into accounts controlled by the group under the pretext of running a debt collection agency.

Translated by The Japan Times

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