The Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday searched the home of former Sogo Chairman Hiroo Mizushima in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward for evidence showing he hid personal assets from creditors.
Police are planning to send papers on Mizushima to public prosecutors, but he entered a hospital over the weekend complaining of heart-related problems and will not be arrested in consideration of his age and ill health, police sources said.
Mizushima, 89, was moved to a different hospital early Wednesday. Police have asked doctors about his condition.
Investigators suspect that Mizushima, who personally guaranteed a total of 20 billion yen in loans taken out to finance Sogo Co.’s ambitious expansion program before the collapse of the bubble economy in the early 1990s, has hidden some 150 million yen in personal assets from creditors.
According to investigations, Mizushima withdrew about 150 million yen from a regional bank branch near his home last July 11, one day before the Sogo group filed for bankruptcy at the Tokyo District Court.
The 20 billion yen in loans guaranteed by Mizushima were from the Industrial Bank of Japan and the collapsed Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, now Shinsei Bank. They were intended to finance the construction of a Sogo store in Tokyo’s Kinshicho district.
Mizushima has denied any wrongdoing and reportedly told police investigators he withdrew the funds to cover his legal expenses.
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