The Industrial Bank of Japan has filed a lawsuit seeking annulment of the sale of a Tokyo property by a former Sogo Co. chairman who is the guarantor of 11 billion yen in IBJ loans to the failed department store chain, lawyers said.

The bank is asking the Tokyo District Court to nullify the sale in June of a property in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward consisting of a house and 220 sq. meters of land by Hiroo Mizushima, 88.

It alleged that Mizushima sold the property to his brother-in-law to prevent the bank from seizing it as collateral. Mizushima has guaranteed an 11 billion yen portion of a 13.6 billion yen IBJ loan to Sogo.

The bank seized some of Mizushima’s assets after Sogo filed with the court on July 12 for protection from creditors and after learning that Mizushima had transferred ownership of the Setagaya Ward property.

Mizushima bought the property from his brother-in-law in July 1988.

The court has approved a plea filed in late July by IBJ to ban Mizushima from further transactions involving his assets.

The IBJ was not able to seize Mizushima’s house and its 700 sq. meters of land, which are adjacent to the property named in the suit, because they are owned by his wife. Former Sogo Vice Chairman Moriichi Inoue, 87, sold the ownership of part of his house and its land in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward to an acquaintance in late August.

Mizushima and Inoue are among three former Sogo executives against whom the Osaka-based department store chain filed a damages suit Wednesday.

The suit seeks 2.693 billion yen in damages from the three former executives, demanding they be held accountable for fictitious transactions with an affiliated company that resulted in huge losses.

Sogo filed for court protection from creditors in July under the weight of massive debts.

It is currently undergoing restructuring under a new fast-track rehabilitation law that allows firms to take swift action on damages suits of this kind.

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