• Kyodo

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Two men were arrested Saturday for allegedly operating an underground bank to remit money from Filipinos in Japan to Manila, officials of the Kyoto Prefectural Police said.

The two men were named as Yasunori Utsu, 52, of Osaka and Takeaki Kitazumi, 52, of the city of Machida, western Tokyo, police said.

The pair are suspected of running an unlicensed bank which investigators allege may have sent as much as 4 billion yen from about 7,000 people to the Philippines over a period of seven years, making a profit of around 300 million yen.

According to police, the two men set up the entity, J&P Express, around November 1993 and established offices in Tokyo’s Ginza district and Manila. During the period between October 1999 and January this year, the men accepted some 2.1 million yen from nine people and handed over the cash — minus commission — to recipients in Manila, they said.

The commission charged for the service was 4.5 percent. Remitting money through a post office takes between 20 and 30 days, but the two men delivered the funds the following day, making the service very popular, investigators said.

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