Tokyo court rules against ex-yakuza boss over ¥200 million fraud by affiliate

Court said boss has responsibility for underlings 'as an employer'

Keika So, who is also known as Shinichi Matsuyama
Keika So, who is also known as Shinichi Matsuyama

TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court has ruled against the former head of an organized crime group in a case involving a group of disabled plaintiffs who were extorted by an affiliate gang, reports TBS News (Sept. 29).

On Thursday, the court ordered Keika So, the 88-year-old former head of the Kyokuto-kai chairman, who also goes by the name Shinichi Matsuyama, and other current gang members, to pay 197 million yen in damages to 27 male and female plaintiffs.

“With a portion of the money funneled upward through the gang, the defrauding and extortion of the disabled victims was a part of its business,” said Presiding Judge Maki Yamada. “Therefore, the leader cannot escape responsibility as an employer.”

Over a two-year period ending in April of 2010, members of an affiliate of the Kyokuto-kai defrauded or intimidated the plaintiffs, who suffer from hearing impairments, via sign language or e-mails into paying approximately 170 million yen.

According to the lawyer for the plaintiffs, the verdict is the first time that a court has deemed a boss liable as an employer for the actions of underlings since a revision eight years ago to the Anti-Organized Crime Law of 1991 allowed for such litigation.

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