The president of a Nichiei Co. subsidiary has denied any involvement in alleged extortion by an arrested former employee of the nation’s leading lender of “shoko” high-interest loans, police said Monday.
Tokihiko Ikuru, president of Nihon Shinyo Hosho Co., was questioned over the weekend in connection with brazen tactics used by Eisuke Arai, 25. Arai was arrested for allegedly trying to bully a debtor into repaying a loan by selling his body parts, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Ikuru told investigators that his company has never engaged in strong-arm tactics to collect loans from customers, police said. “We have set our own business policies,” he was quoted as saying.
According to investigators, Nichiei effectively sells Nihon Shinyo Hosho debts from the guarantors of borrowers who cannot pay.
Nichiei President Kazuo Matsuda is listed among Nihon Shinyo Hosho’s executives.
A 62-year-old guarantor in Chiba who filed a lawsuit against Nichiei over its alleged aggressive loan collection tactics said he was told by Nichiei that “the loan collector was not a Nichiei employee but one from Nihon Shinyo Hosho.”
Nichiei also told victims of Arai’s alleged strong-arm tactics that he was a Nihon Shinyo Hosho employee and the bad loans in question had already been handed over to the subsidiary, police said.
But Arai had belonged to the loan collection section at the Tokyo branch of the Kyoto-based nonbank financial institution, and Nichiei employees were tasked by Nihon Shinyo Hosho to actually collect bad loans, the investigators said.
The subsidiary had about 20 employees when the alleged extortion took place.
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