Three people were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of selling tigers without obtaining permission from the Environment Agency, a violation of the Law for the Preservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, police said.

Two of the arrested people were named as Motosaburo Ikeda, 71, president of animal rental company Ikeda Animal Production, based in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, and Satoru Ide, 49, president of animal sales company Toyo Docho Kikaku in Chiba.

Police searched Ikeda Animal Production and other locations in connection with the fatal February mauling of a 25-year-old employee by a 2.3-meter-tall, 150-kg Bengal tiger at a facility in Machida, western Tokyo, that belongs to the company.

Ikeda told police that his firm did not have permission from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to keep or raise dangerous animals.

According to police, Ide and the third suspect purchased two tigers for 300,000 yen from an animal breeder in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture on Oct. 7, 1997.

Ide then sold one of the two tigers to Ikeda’s company for 1.26 million yen two days later, police said.

These transactions were allegedly conducted without the permission of the Environment Agency, police said.