Nine arrested for illegally collecting money for food business Kefir
Japan Times -- Feb 19
Nine people were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of illegally collecting money for a food product sales business run by a Tokyo-based mail-order service company that filed for bankruptcy in 2018, police said.

Hideya Kaburaki, 84, former head of the company, Kefir Inc., and the eight others were arrested for allegedly collecting about ¥180 million ($1.64 million) from 19 people between April 2017 and June 2018 in violation of the investment law.

The law prohibits companies other than banks and other licensed entities from collecting deposits. Kaburaki has admitted to the allegation, the police said.

The company and its group firms have not paid back around ¥100 billion to some 30,000 people, according to the bankruptcy administrator.

The police suspect that the company also committed fraud as it is believed to have started using money from investors to pay dividends several years before the bankruptcy.

Kefir, which sold processed food products through a membership website and mail order, is believed to have gathered a total of around ¥210 billion from some 44,000 people between 2000 and 2018, the police said.

Kefir, established in 1992 as a yogurt seller, expanded its business areas over the years to other food products such as maple syrup and dried persimmons.

News source: Japan Times
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