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Sumiyoshi-kai offices raided, 1 gangster arrested in ‘Winter Sonata’ fraud

Hirobumi Kawasuzuki
Hirobumi Kawasuzuki

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police announced on Wednesday the raid of the Tokyo offices of the Sumiyoshi-kai organized crime group for fraud related to an event-planning company specializing in Korean television dramas.

On Tuesday, officers from the anti-organized crime division searched six offices operated by the Sumiyoshi-kai organization and arrested 48-year-old member Hirobumi Kawasuzuki. An account of the suspect is alleged to have received bank transfers of at least 100 million yen from Samufa Entertainment, whose president, Tetsuhiro Takenaka (53), was arrested for fraud in June.

Kawasuzuki reportedly denies the allegations. “There was no intention of obtaining fraudulently obtained money by bank transfer,” the suspect is quoted by police, according to Saneki Sports (Nov. 7).

Investigators say that between 2006 and 2010 Takenaka collected one billion yen from 460 individuals nationwide in what was said to be an investment in shares in the company. Of that amount, 10 percent was subsequently sent to an account affiliated with Kawasuzuki, who has been charged with fraud and receiving the proceeds of criminal activity.

Between 2004 and 2005, Samufa Entertainment held events in Tokyo for the popular drama “Winter Sonata.” However, after financial troubles mounted due to a lack of customers in 2006, the idea of selling shares in the company was put forth. Investors were told to expect returns of 400 percent following the initial public offering, which never happened.

For several months starting in August 2007, Kawasuzuki worked for a foodstuffs company affiliated with Samufa Entertainment and rented out a room. During this time, Takenaka served on the board of the foodstuffs company and the share-sale plan carried out.

Takenaka was among eight suspects arrested for the initial share-sale fraud.