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Court orders life insurance beneficiaries to pay back payout+.

SAITAMA, Japan, May 9 Kyodo

The Saitama District Court on Wednesday ordered two beneficiaries of an insurance policy taken out on a Saitama Prefecture man suspected of being murdered to return the payout.

The court ordered Mayumi Take, a restaurant employee, and Takako Morita, a former financial company employee, to pay back up to 180 million yen to Nippon Life Insurance Co.

According to the ruling, the insurance company paid out 180 million yen following the death of Shuichi Sato, 45, who prosecutors said was poisoned by moneylender Shigeru Yagi and three woman accomplices including Take, 33, and Morita, 39.

Sato was allegedly served a Japanese sweet-bean bun laced with a fatal amount of monkshood herb on June 3, 1995, at his house in Honjo in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo.

The four, who were indicted on Dec. 13 last year on a charge of killing Sato, took out an insurance policy on him worth 180 million yen, according to the ruling. The third woman is Analie Sato Kawamura, 36, Sato's former wife from a bogus marriage in 1990.

Prosecutors said the four abandoned Sato's body in the Tone River.

Take and Morita accepted the demand of the insurance company at the first court hearing on April 18, although they said they are unable to pay back the money. Kawamura separately agreed to the company's demands and wrote a cognovit note to end the case.

However, Yagi, 51, intends to contest the demand as he denies the criminal charges against him over the killing of Sato.

The four were also indicted on a charge of killing Akira Morita, Takako's husband, on May 29, 1999, with a fatal dose of cold medicine.

Three of the four were also indicted on a charge of attempting to kill Fujimi Kawamura, Kawamura's husband, the following day.

A total of 1.4 billion yen in life insurance was taken out on Sato, Morita and Kawamura, but they only received 300 million yen.

Yagi allegedly masterminded the scheme and received most of the 300 million yen paid by Nippon Life and other insurers.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:May 14, 2001
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