Key suspect in land scam group arrested in Japan after detention in Philippines

Kyodo News

Posted at Jan 11 2019 11:48 PM | Updated as of Jan 13 2019 08:10 PM

A 59-year-old man believed to be a main suspect in a bogus land sale in Tokyo targeting a home builder was arrested Friday shortly after arriving in Japan from the Philippines.

Misao Kaminsukasu was arrested after being detained in Manila last month on suspicion of providing false documents to the Japanese Legal Affairs Bureau on June 1, 2017, according to the Japanese police and the Philippines' Bureau of Immigration.

Kaminsukasu, who has denied the allegations, is believed to be one of the masterminds of a criminal group which swindled Sekisui House Ltd. out of about 5.55 billion yen ($51 million) in a deal to sell a 2,000-square-meter plot of land in a top-rated location in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward, an investigative source said.

Kaminsukasu led negotiations with the company in the sale of the land, formerly used as the site of an inn, a Japanese investigative source said.

Tokyo police have already arrested 16 people in connection with the case and Kaminsukasu had fled to the Philippines a few days before eight of them were arrested last October.

He turned himself in at the Japanese Embassy in Manila on Dec. 19 after the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department placed him on an international wanted list and then was detained by Philippine immigration authorities.

Sekisui House concluded the land deal on April 24, 2017, and paid 6.3 billion yen in total by June 1 that year. But an application to change the ownership was turned down by the Japanese bureau as the documents were found to have been tampered with.

The total sum recognized by police as having been fraudulently gained has been reduced to about 5.55 billion yen, as the company had received 750 million yen from the same group in reference to a different contract to sell an apartment.