National / Crime & Legal

Suspects arrested by Tokyo police over ¥78 million bitcoin theft

JIJI

Tokyo police have arrested two men for allegedly stealing some ¥78 million in bitcoin from an overseas cryptocurrency exchange, it was learned Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s cybercrime unit arrested Yuto Onitsuka, 25, and Takuma Sasaki, 28, on computer fraud charges, investigative sources said.

The two are suspected of accessing the account of a Tokyo-based virtual currency management company on CoinExchange and stealing some ¥78 million in bitcoin from the account on Oct. 29, 2018. The stolen bitcoin was remitted to two accounts managed by the suspects on foreign and domestic exchanges.

According to the investigative sources, Onitsuka was an employee of the Tokyo virtual currency management firm at the time and knew the username and password for the company account. Sasaki is thought to have learned the login details from Onitsuka and used the information to fraudulently withdraw the bitcoins.

Some of the stolen cryptocurrency is thought to have been exchanged for cash, which was put in Sasaki’s bank account.

Sasaki withdrew some ¥6 million from the account and spent the money for travel and other purposes, according to the investigative sources.

Onitsuka and Sasaki became acquainted through an online bulletin board four to five years ago, but had never met each other, the sources said. The sources quoted Onitsuka as saying that he tried to bankrupt the company he worked for as he was dissatisfied with the management policy of the president at the time.

The MPD began the investigation after the company reported the theft.

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