• Kyodo

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The U.S. government designated a Japanese former gang leader as subject to economic sanctions Wednesday, alleging his ongoing involvement in money laundering for the country’s largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi.

The Treasury Department said it will freeze assets within U.S. jurisdiction of Tadamasa Goto, who moved to Cambodia after being ousted from the Yamaguchi-gumi in 2008, and prohibit the former yakuza from conducting transactions with U.S. firms and individuals.

Goto, a former head of the now-defunct Goto-gumi under the umbrella of the Yamaguchi-gumi, continues to support the syndicate and his former followers in Goto-gumi “by laundering their funds between Japan and Cambodia,” the department said.

Goto “possesses deep ties to the yakuza and has been instrumental to its criminal operations around the world,” John Smith, acting director of the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama in July 2011 identified the yakuza as a significant transnational criminal organization under an executive order, directing the department to step up measures against Japanese gangs.

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