National / Crime & Legal

Fuji TV reporter who allegedly bought car for yakuza also suspected of lending money: police

Kyodo

A Fuji Television Network Inc. reporter who allegedly purchased a luxury car on behalf of a man connected to the underworld is also suspected of lending millions of yen to the mobster, police officials said.

The 32-year-old male employee, who was relieved of his reporter’s position after the purchase surfaced late last year, is suspected of loaning about ¥2.3 million ($20,700) in cash to the 59-year-old yakuza, who is connected to the Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate.

Of the amount, roughly ¥1.7 million has yet to be repaid, according to police officials.

While a Tokyo Metropolitan Government ordinance forbids businesses from providing benefits to active yakuza, the employee is deemed not to have violated it because he apparently lent the money in a personal capacity, an investigative source said Wednesday. Tokyo police sent papers on the reporter and the yakuza to prosecutors the same day.

The employee is alleged to have bought an imported luxury car for the mobster in March 2015 by taking out a loan and registering the car in his own name. The mobster still owes the reporter about ¥1.9 million in connection with the loan, according to the police.

As a reporter, the Fuji Television employee covered underworld syndicates. The mobster began asking him for money around spring of 2013 when they got to know each other, according to the officials. The employee told the police that he complied with the requests as he feared he would not be able to recover the money he had previously loaned, the officials said.

Fuji Television aired a 10-minute news piece on Wednesday afternoon in which it reviewed the employee’s conduct. In it, the employee was quoted as saying he did not want to damage his relationship with his source even though he knew his action was illegal.

The broadcaster suspended the employee from work for one month starting Jan. 1.