After the dust had settled, Shinichi Yoshizawa, 58, told police it had simply been a matter of “personal fun.”
Such an assessment certainly qualifies as a candidate for understatement of the year: Yoshizawa, a former executive at at a subsidiary of Hiroshima-based Fukuyama Transporting, is suspected of spending some 630 million yen in embezzled funds at hostess clubs in Tokyo’s ritzy Ginza district.
According to weekly tabloid Shukan Jitsuwa (Feb. 9), Yoshizawa, who was arrested in January for aggravated breach of trust under the Companies Act, allegedly inflated budgets for sub-contract work in misappropriating funds for his benefit.
According to an investigator, Yoshizawa, a resident of Tokyo’s Chuo Ward, inflated invoices for delivery work to a sub-contractor in fraudulently receiving about 100 million yen between March of 2012 and February of the following year. The company believes that the suspect embezzled about 637 million yen using similar means over a six-year period ending in March of 2015.
“The matter came to light via a tax inquiry [by the Hiroshima Regional Taxation Bureau in January of 2016],” a local news reporter tells the tabloid. In addition to the clubs in Ginza, Yoshizawa he also used the embezzled money for golf.
For comparison, the magazine points out a similar scandal involving fabric manufacturer Toray. In November of 2015, a section manager at the company was arrested over a fraud involving Ginza clubs in which the damage was around 200 million yen — a figure that is small potatoes relative to Yoshizawa’s scam.
Paid in cash
There was another difference between Yoshizawa and the Toray manager. “He didn’t use his name or that of his company,” a Ginza insider tells the magazine. “Fukuyama Transporting is a big name. If a such a person is drinking around Ginza, word will get around.”
He also always paid in cash. “As long as bills in Ginza are paid in cash,” the insider continues, “one’s identity does not matter.”
The source goes on to say that Yoshizawa did use the alias “Tamura” at one high-end club: “I wonder if there was a hostess there with whom he had a special relationship.”
During questioning by police, Yoshizawa said of the embezzled money, “I used it at high-end Ginza clubs for personal fun.”
The aforementioned insider also knew of another club where Yoshizawa was spotted. The source, however, is doubtful that the suspect could have possibly spent more than 600 million yen drinking in Ginza — or even playing golf. “What else did he use it on?” the source wonders.
Source: “1 oku-en tsukaikomi taiho sareta Fukuyama Tsuun moto yakuin no Ginza kurabu,” Shukan Jitsuwa (Feb. 9, pages 45-46)