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Police arrest 10 over illegal casino linked to Ghanaian envoy

JIJI, Kyodo, Staff Report

Police in Tokyo have arrested 10 people on charges of running an illegal gambling business in a room leased in Shibuya Ward under the name of the Ghanaian ambassador to Japan, it was learned Wednesday.

Nine of the 10 suspects — who are all Japanese — have admitted the charges, while the remaining man, Hiroyuki Yamanoi, 35, has denied involvement in the business, police sources said.

Two others, who are male but whose nationality is not known, have also been arrested for allegedly visiting the room as guests, police said.

Some of the suspects reportedly believed that they would be immune from prosecution because the casino belonged to the Ghanaian Embassy, police said.

The lease for the room was signed in September 2012, at which time the previous ambassador presented official identification. It was then passed on to the current ambassador, Edmond Kofi Agbenutse Deh, 55, who has since visited, according to the sources.

The Metropolitan Police Department has invited the present ambassador, through the Foreign Ministry, to accept questioning, and is currently investigating whether he was among those involved in the gambling business.

The 10 people were arrested on charges of accepting guests to play baccarat in the room in central Shibuya Ward on March 5, and the baccarat business is believed to have started shortly after the lease contract was concluded.

The police have confiscated a list of approximately 800 customers and cash totaling ¥12 million. The casino is believed to have earned in the region of ¥200 million.