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Ex-Nagano pension fund exec arrested for embezzlement after extradition from Thailand

Yoshinobu Sakamoto in Thailand
Yoshinobu Sakamoto in Thailand

NARITA (TR) – A former manager of a Japanese pension fund was arrested at Narita Airport on Thursday on suspicion of embezzlement after being extradited from Thailand, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Nov. 14).

Since 2010, Yoshinobu Sakamoto, 56-year-old former general manager of the Nagano Prefecture Construction Industry Welfare Pension Fund, had been wanted by prefectural police in connection with the disappearance of 2.38 billion yen from that fund.

The suspect is accused of embezzling over 60 million yen of that missing money.

Sakamoto arrived in Bangkok on September 10, 2010. His entry visa expired in March of the following year. On November 1, he was arrested in Bangkok by Thai immigration officials for being in the country illegally.

The Nagano Prefecture Construction Industry Welfare Pension Fund was one of the 84 clients of AIJ Investment Advisors, the firm at the center of a $2 billion fraud that came to light in 2012. The investment firm had been entrusted with more than 30 percent of the fund’s assets, or approximately 6.5 billion yen.

Sakamoto was first given control of the Nagano pension fund assets in 1989. Prior to his disappearance, he was in charge of overseeing more than 20 billion yen in funds entrusted by 6,800 people.

According to news reports, Sakamoto has admitted to embezzling the money and that none of the funds remain.