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Ginza’s ‘property king’ handed 4-year term for tax evasion

TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court last month handed Genshiro Kawamoto, a legendary property tycoon, a prison term for tax evasion, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Nov. 20).

Between 2009 and 2011, Marugen Group, which Kawamoto presides over, concealed 3.543 billion yen in earnings in evading 1.06 billion yen in taxes. On November 20, the court handed down the ruling, which also included a fine of 240 million yen.

The prosecution had sought a prison term of 5 years and a fine of 300 million yen.

Genshiro Kawamoto
Genshiro Kawamoto (Twitter)

Known as the “Ginza Property King,” Kawamoto, 86, was arrested for violating the Corporation Tax Law by Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2013.

During the trial, Kawamoto’s lawyer claimed that the income from 31 properties was personal income, meaning the violations would fall under the Income Tax Law and the not the Corporation Tax Law.

However, presiding judge Iwao Maeda ruled that the income was derived from corporate deals that were backed by contracts. The judge added that the concealment was done via a number of means, including the sale of fictitious assets at a loss.

Marugen No. 12 in Roppongi seen closed in 2008 (The Tokyo Reporter)

Hostess clubs, bars and clubs

Born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Kawamoto started leasing space to bars and restaurants in Kyushu in 1963. He moved to Tokyo in 1972. Within two years, he had constructed his first multi-tenant building in Tokyo’s Ginza district, where he would eventually accumulate at least eight properties.

During the “bubble” period of the 1980s, the property tycoon expanded into Tokyo’s Akasaka and Roppongi districts and the Nakasu entertainment area of Fukuoka City.

Kawamoto focused on leasing space to hostess clubs and bars, the names for which are listed on signboards running down the side of each building beneath his red logo, which consists of the Chinese character for “circle” (maru) encircling that for “origin” (gen).

Kawamoto also has properties in Hawaii and a home in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture.