Switzerland and Japan to share confiscated assets

Successful conclusion to close collaboration on the Kajiyama case

Press Release, FOJ, 18.04.2008

Berne. Switzerland and Japan will each receive half of assets worth some 58.4 million francs that were seized as part of money laundering proceedings in Zurich. The two states will agree the details in an exchange of correspondence on next Tuesday. The money originates from criminal activity on the part of the Yakuza crime organisation.

The seizure and division of these assets and the conviction of those responsible in Japan were made possible by close collaboration between the authorities of the two states. As part of criminal proceedings instituted on money laundering grounds, in 2003 the Zurich prosecuting authorities seized around 58.4 million francs in the accounts of Susumu Kajiyama, a leading member of Goryôkai, and notified the Japanese authorities accordingly. On the basis of this information, the Japanese authorities submitted a request for judicial assistance, which yielded the evidence they needed for their own criminal proceedings. Meanwhile, information from Japan permitted the Zurich prosecuting authorities to confiscate the seized assets and prevent them reaching Goryôkai. Thanks specifically to the evidence gathered in Switzerland, Kajiyama's conviction for usury and money laundering was upheld by Japan's highest appeal court on 17 November 2005.

Majority of assets secured in Switzerland

Assets in this case were seized all over the world, but since the majority were secured in Switzerland, Japan requested that Switzerland enter into negotiations on a sharing agreement. These negotiations were concluded on 29 November 2007, subject to the approval of the competent authorities. In Switzerland, this approval was given by the Governing Council of Canton Zurich on 19 December 2007 and by the Federal Council on 9 April 2008.

The agreement determines that the assets seized in Zurich will be divided in equal shares between the two countries. Switzerland and Japan also assured each other of reciprocal rights in future sharing cases. The Japanese portion of the assets will be paid to the Goryôkai usury victims.

Further information

Note

For the complete documentation see the pages in German, French or Italian

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