Officers from the organized crime division took the 49-year-old president of Gatekeeper Partners Securities, Toshiro Hara, into custody for attempting to extort 50 million yen from the company GFA in which involvement by the motorcycle gang Kanto Rengo was suggested as leverage.
“There has a been a mistake,” Hara is quoted by police in denying the allegations.
At the end of June, police allege that the suspect came to GFA to explain that a member of the Kanto Rengo group approached him about joining GFA as a board member. “He also asked for a loan, which I extended,” Hara reportedly said. “If I hadn’t, your (GFA’s) shareholders meeting would have been disastrous. Now that I contained them, I want you (GFA) to lend me money (50 million yen).”
According to investigators, a friend of Hara’s who pretended to be affiliated with Kanto Rengo did in fact arrive at GFA’s offices a few days before the monetary demands were made.
Hara also said that he has a strong relationship with organized crime members. “I’m not sure what to do,” he reportedly said. “If they arrive here it’s over; they’ll kill you.”
In May, Gatekeeper entered into a business partnership with GFA in which Gatekeeper received approximately 30 percent of GFA’s shares, making the company its top shareholder. The shares were subsequently lent without notice to an associated party in July, at which time the business partnership was terminated.
Due to the partnership, the shares rose by a factor of four over a very short period, during which time investigators believe that the suspect profited from sales of the shares.
The Kanto Rengo group broke up about 15 years ago but their members still operate in various forms. One former leader, Taichi Ishimoto, was arrested in September for fraud. The 30-year-old was also a participant in a drunken brawl involving kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo in 2010.