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Tokyo Sowa Bank staffer nabbed for embezzlement.

TOKYO, Jan. 17 Kyodo

A 39-year-old former employee of Tokyo Sowa Bank, which was declared insolvent in June 1999, has been arrested on a charge of embezzling customers' deposits after being blackmailed, police sources said Wednesday, adding that his two suspected blackmailers were also arrested.

Arrested were Masaaki Nagata, formerly the marketing division chief at the Tokyo regional bank's Omori branch, Kazuhide Takahashi, 59, a professional driver from Tokyo, and his live-in girlfriend Yaeko Hayakawa, 61, unemployed, the police said.

According to investigators, in early 1996 Takahashi intended to cancel several million yen worth of time deposits he had at the branch.

However, Nagata refunded Takahashi's deposits using his own money, as he did not want any time deposits canceled to avoid having his marketing record tarnished.

Between March through May that year, Takahashi and Hayakawa then blackmailed Nagata for a total of 20 million yen, threatening to tell the bank's management about his unauthorized refunding of the deposits, the investigators said.

Nagata canceled time deposits of two other customers in May 1996 and March 1999 without their consent, embezzling a total of 28 million yen to pay the blackmailers, the investigators said.

After Nagata reported to police that he was blackmailed, his embezzlement was uncovered during the course of investigations into the blackmail, they said.

Nagata was dismissed in March last year by Tokyo Sowa. The second-tier regional bank is currently looking for a possible buyer interested in its operations.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jan 22, 2001
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