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Talent agency extorts employee after contract snafu with ex-AKB48 member

Akihiro Yoshimoto
Akihiro Yoshimoto

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested the president of a talent agency for the blackmail of a former employee after a contract blunder regarding a former member of pop group AKB48, reports the AsaAsahi Shimbun (Sep. 9).

Between August and November of last year, Akihiro Yoshimoto, the president of agency Palette, located in Minato Ward, is alleged to have extorted 560,000 yen from a 46-year-old employee of the company as compensation for “wasted money.”

The crime occurred after negotiations ceased in the retention of Mariko Shinoda, the actress who left the all-girl group in 2013, for an appearance in a television commercial for a Tokyo-based telecommunications company.

Yoshimoto denies the allegations.

The victim had signed a promissory note indicating that he would pay a total of 3.6 million yen.