National / Crime & Legal

Fresh warrants issued for eight in custody over bogus 2017 Sekisui House land sale

Kyodo

Tokyo police Monday issued fresh arrest warrants for eight suspects over their involvement in a bogus land sale that targeted home builder Sekisui House Ltd. in 2017, investigative sources said.

The eight are suspected of defrauding the company out of about ¥6.3 billion in a deal to sell an approximately 2,000-square-meter plot of land that was formerly the site of an inn, located in a prime location in Tokyo, according to the sources.

The eight are already in police custody in connection with the allegedly fraudulent deal and have been charged twice for crimes including falsifying documents to change the ownership of the land in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, without the owner’s permission.

Among those subject to the new warrants is Masami Haketa, 63, who is alleged to have impersonated the female landowner after she was hospitalized in February 2017 and died in June that year, the sources said.

Sekisui House concluded the deal on April 24, 2017, and paid a total of around ¥6.3 billion by June 1 the same year. But an application to change the ownership was rejected by the Legal Affairs Bureau as the documents were found to have been altered.

In its midterm earnings report for the February-July 2017 period, Sekisui House booked a special loss of about ¥5.5 billion.

The police have so far arrested 15 people in connection with the case and are set to arrest more on fraud allegations, including a key member of the accused group as well as a man who distributed stolen money.

A 58-year-old man believed to have led negotiations with Sekisui House left Japan for the Philippines and the police have put him on an international wanted list.