Ichiro Yamamoto, former chairman of Keizai Kakumei Club, which was raided in June 1996 for allegedly swindling investors out of 178 million yen, pleaded not guilty July 16 to charges of fraud before the Tokyo District Court.

“I proclaim my innocence,” the 57-year-old Yamamoto confidently told the court. “I worked so hard I had no holidays.” Reading from a prepared statement, he asserted that Tokyo-based KKC was “a philanthropic enterprise for the elderly.”

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