• Kyodo

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Police raided a Tokyo-based used car agent Wednesday on suspicion the firm illegally collected huge amounts of money for investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Investigators said they searched about 20 locations related to Kashin Co., including its head office in Chuo Ward and the homes of its executives, for allegedly violating legislation regulating capital subscriptions, which bans unlicensed entities from collecting money.

They said that beginning around 2001, the company collected investments under a scheme in which dividends were promised on investments in natural resources development projects in the central African country.

By stating that the Japanese economy was about to collapse, the firm convinced customers that it would be much more promising to invest in Congo, police said.

The firm reportedly accumulated about 10 billion yen from roughly 5,000 people across the country.

It prepared several different investment packages, ranging between 60,000 yen and 100 million yen, sources said.

Police plan to pursue a fraud case against the firm, they said.

The firm, established in March 1997, has generated profits by selling cars at auction on behalf of customers, the sources said. Its president, Riichiro Ohashi, is currently not in Japan, according to investigators.

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