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A lawyer representing the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryun, said Thursday no crime was involved in a deal to sell its Tokyo headquarters to an investment advisory firm headed by a former chief of the Public Security Intelligence Agency.

The comments by Koken Tsuchiya, 84, came just before police raided his office in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward and a day after prosecutors raided the home and office of the agency’s former director general, Shigetake Ogata, 73, on suspicion he registered the ownership transfer without paying for the building.

“It was not a disguised transfer, as we were serious about the transaction,” Tsuchiya said Thursday. “Our action had nothing to do with any crime.”

He also said he had been questioned by the special investigative squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office over the matter.

Ogata, now president of investment advisory company Harvest, was a prosecutor and chief of the Public Security Intelligence Agency, a body under the Justice Ministry. One of the main tasks of the agency is to monitor the moves of North Korea, including those of Chongryun.

The prosecutors also questioned Ogata, who is now a practicing lawyer, on a voluntary basis over the deal, sources said.

“The deal with Chongryun is real and anything but a disguised transaction,” Ogata said after the prosecutors’ raid. “The deal is still ongoing, and I intend to try hard to secure funds. I can’t help but think the search is politically motivated to destroy the deal.”

Ogata told reporters Wednesday the deal was meant to prevent the Tokyo District Court from seizing the head office and evicting Chongryun from the premises in the event the group loses a suit in which the state-backed Resolution and Collection Corp. has sought a debt repayment of 62.8 billion yen.

According to Ogata, he was first approached by Tsuchiya, a former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, about the deal in April. Tsuchiya represents Chongryun in the lawsuit involving the RCC.

For related stories:

Chongryun Tokyo HQ sale seems set to fail
Chongryun HQ sold to ex-intelligence head

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