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Poll reveals plenty of gangsters holding bank accounts, credit cards

Shukan Post Jan. 1
Shukan Post Jan. 1-10
On September 27, the Financial Services Agency ordered the Mizuho Financial Group to boost its compliance monitoring after 230 transactions related to organized crime members were found to have been made through its Orient credit affiliate.

In the weeks that followed, other financial institutions subsequently acknowledged having made similar transactions, which lead many to wonder just how easy is it for a gangster to obtain an account.

Writing in Shukan Post (Jan. 1-10), yakuza journalist Tomohiko Suzuki reveals the results of a survey of 100 gang members — including those from the Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai — conducted over a one-week period earlier this month.

Of those polled, 87 percent said they have bank accounts, while 44 percent possess credit cards.

“Back in the day, everyone had an account,” says a 47-year-old gangster from the Kansai area. “You just hid your status (as an organized crime member). Then, after the statute of limitations of seven years expired, you could come clean and it wouldn’t be fraud.”

A 37-year-old Tokyo gangster says it is difficult to pull such a ruse nowadays: “There’s only one bank where you can now open a new account” — and Shukan Post redacted the name.

“10 years ago, I applied for a credit card while posing as corporate official,” says a 60-year-old gangster from the Kanto area. “Payments could be made smoothly, and they even offered cards that didn’t have to be renewed.” The gangster goes on to describe the bank as “honey” but yet again the magazine did not print its name.

As to Mizuho, the gangster from Kansai says the reason behind the revelations by the FSA is amakudari, or descent from heaven.

Such a practice enables government workers — in this case, retired cops — to land positions in the private sector as “consultants” after retirement. The implication being: financial institutions need guidance from professionals in complying with the law.

As to home and car ownership by yakuza, the figures are 73 and 82 percent, respectively. For acquiring real estate, the approach is different from that of credit cards and bank accounts. “You use the fake name of a girlfriend,” says a 41-year-old yakuza in Okinawa. “Even if it is a common-law marriage the police can’t say anything.” (A.T.)

Source: “Geneki 100nin ni kiita yakuza senronchosa,” Shukan Post (Jan. 1-10, pages 164-167)