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MRI investor meeting draws over 1,500 to Tokyo

Kyodo

More than 1,500 people from across Japan showed up for a jam-packed meeting Sunday organized by lawyers who accuse U.S asset manager MRI International Inc. of conducting a ¥130 billion fraud.

The lawyers said they plan to file a criminal complaint against Edwin Yoshihiro Fujinaga, president of the Las Vegas-based asset manager, by the end of the month.

MRI International has said it was managing around ¥130 billion invested by about 8,700 clients as of the end of last year but that most of it had disappeared.

Japanese regulators raided the Tokyo office of the asset manager last month for evidence that much of the investors’ funds were lost due to the firm’s mismanagement.

The Financial Services Agency has since stripped MRI International of its registration as an asset manager.

On Sunday, the 500-seat hall in Tokyo was packed well before the meeting, forcing the lawyers to hold four sessions to explain the latest details regarding the alleged fraud.

“I just have to turn to the defense team because I can’t get my money back myself,” said a 71-year-old man from Saitama Prefecture.

A 35-year-old company employee from Aichi said: “From what I hear, I feel the chances (of getting paid back) are slim.”