Seven men in Hyogo Prefecture have been arrested on suspicion of swindling a man out of bitcoins worth around ¥190 million ($1.8 million), police said Wednesday.
The police believe the men, all in their 20s, conned a Tokyo marketing firm president in his 40s into transferring his bitcoins last year to an account from which they exchanged the virtual currency into cash.
The men, who were arrested Tuesday and deny the allegations, met with three individuals representing the company president at a Tokyo hotel on July 25. To make the transaction seem legitimate, they presented fake cash in a suitcase, according to the police.
After the president transferred his bitcoins to the account of a virtual currency exchange operator, the men claimed that they hadn’t yet received the coins, the police and investigative sources said.
On July 27, an accomplice of the seven went to an outlet of the exchange operator in Yokohama and received some ¥174.2 million in cash, excluding commission, the sources said.
All seven have said they did not know about the transaction and the police believe they were following someone else’s orders, according to the sources.