• Kyodo

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A man charged with embezzling more than 1.4 billion yen from the Aomori Prefectural Housing Supply Public Corp. has asked his Chilean wife to return most of the 810 million yen he gave her.

Yuji Chida, 45, said Wednesday before the Aomori District Court, “I hope she (Anita Ester Alvarado Munoz) will return the money to the corporation, excluding the minimum amount (she may need).”

Chida, who was in charge of accounts at the corporation, allegedly gave the money to Alvarado, 29, partly during several visits to Chile.

Alvarado reportedly spent the money on building a restaurant, a bar, hospitals and a luxurious residence.

Chida’s alleged embezzlement was uncovered by Sendai-based tax officials in October, and Chida was arrested in December in Tokyo’s Roppongi district.

Chida said he met Alvarado in March 1997 and they married in Chile in July that year.

“While I had no intention of marrying her, she surreptitiously promoted (nuptial) procedures,” Chida claimed.

He said he was asked by Alvarado to remit money, quoting her as saying, “I have already borrowed money (to construct hospitals).”

“Because of my responsibility as a husband, I could not very well refuse,” Chida said.

But he added: “I don’t think I was deceived. She turned from bad to worse after receiving the money. She has changed due to the magic power of money.”

Asked about allegations that he also gave some of the embezzled funds to other women, Chida said, “I was so accustomed to embezzling money (at that time).”

Alvarado has refused to return the money because she claims she did not know it was stolen. She said she can’t sell her assets and has no cash, and she has two children from a previous marriage to support.

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