Indonesia to deport Japanese man accused of role in $90 million investment fraud

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A Japanese man accused of helping to run a $90 million investment scam will be sent home after four years on the run, Indonesian authorities said Tuesday. Yusuke Yamazaki, 43, was arrested off Bulan island in Kepulauan Riau province on Jan. 31, while attempting to cross into Malaysia in a small wooden boat, said Nyoman Gede Surya Mataram, who heads the provincial office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. He’s expected to be deported by the end of the day.

The boat also carried four undocumented Indonesian migrant workers and two crew, Mataram said. The others were detained by police for further investigation while Yamazaki was handed over to the Immigration Office in Batam on Feb. 2. Yamazaki initially gave a false name and was detained on suspicion of visa violations, Mataram said, but police later identified him as an international fugitive.

He was an executive at Nishiyama Farm, an Okayama-based company that ran farm tours across Japan and collapsed amid allegations of fraud in February 2019. Five people connected to Nishiyama Farm were arrested in October 2021 for suspected fraud worth around 13.3 billion yen ($90 million) and later convicted, but Yamazaki left Japan for Hong Kong in February 2020, according to Japanese media reports.

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Aichi Prefectural Police listed Yamazaki as a fugitive on an Interpol Blue Notice in 2022. Mataram said Yamazaki is believed to have arrived in Indonesia by way of Turkey in April the following year. “Further legal process will be carried out by Japanese government upon his transfer to Japan,” said Batam’s Immigration Office Chief, Samuel Toba, at a news conference.

He added that Japanese Police on had dispatched investigators to Indonesia to assist in the deportation of Yamazaki, who will be flown to Jakarta at noon before he is sent on an overnight Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo. In a lawsuit filed by 41 investors in Tokyo and four other prefectures seeking compensation from Yamazaki and others, the Nagoya District Court ordered the defendants to pay around 320 million yen (about $2.2 million) in February 2022.