The Tokyo District Court sentenced a senior member of a loan-sharking ring to five years in prison Wednesday and fined him 20 million yen for money laundering.

Although both the prison term and fine matched the demands of prosecutors, the court stopped short of ordering defendant Toshikazu Matsuzaki, 35, to pay an additional 1.326 billion yen, the amount of damage cited in his indictment.

Presiding Judge Yoshinobu Iida explained that the court believes the laundered money was property that was damaged through a criminal act, and as such, and for the sake of victims suing for compensation, is banned from additional collection or confiscation.

“The law stipulates that the issue of restoring the damage incurred should be left to such procedures as civil lawsuits filed by victims,” the judge said.

Having said that, however, the judge also said the court supported the prosecutors’ demands regarding imprisonment and fines because Matsuzaki’s crimes were malicious in that the money was collected by charging high interest on loans, and because the defendant exploited borrowers who were heavily indebted.

He added that the scale of the money laundering was incredibly huge.

Prosecutors said they plan to appeal Wednesday’s ruling because they were dissatisfied with the court’s decision on the 1.326 billion yen additional payment.

According to the court, Matsuzaki violated a law against organized crime by conspiring with others to hide income gained through a loan-shark ring. But the same law bans confiscation or additional imposition of charges on property that was affected by a crime in order to facilitate victims’ claims for compensation.

Prosecutors had argued that the criminal acts and victims involved in the usurious profits had not been determined, and that the money could not be considered property adversely affected by a crime.

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