• Kyodo

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Prosecutors are demanding eight years behind bars for the president of failed travel agency Tellmeclub, who is accused of defrauding two banks of about ¥550 million in loans by doctoring earnings data.

While prosecutors claimed Monday that Chikako Yamada, 68, was “selfish and irresponsible in directing the whitewashing of the documents, knowing the company had fallen into negative net worth,” her lawyers sought to reduce her sentence due to her age and her expressions of remorse.

Yamada has pleaded guilty and apologized for her actions.

The court is scheduled to hand down its ruling July 20.

According to the indictment, Yamada and her former subordinate, Toshiyuki Sasai, 37, are suspected of having swindled Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. out of ¥394 million between June and December 2016 and Higashi-Nippon Bank out of ¥150 million in February 2017, after showing them company financial statements listing fictitious profits.

Tokyo-based Tellmeclub went bankrupt in March 2017 with debts of around ¥15.1 billion, after collecting roughly ¥9.9 billion in advance payments from between 80,000 to 90,000 customers across Japan.

Yamada is also accused of having covered up around ¥10 million in executive compensation when filing for personal bankruptcy with the court, and failing to declare it to a court-appointed administrator between March and April last year.

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