Ex-billionaire arrested for allegedly evading taxes in Japan

Posted at 03/05/2013 5:22 PM | Updated as of 03/05/2013 5:22 PM

TOKYO - Tokyo prosecutors arrested on Tuesday Japanese real estate tycoon Genshiro Kawamoto on suspicion of dodging over 800 million yen ($8.5 million) in corporate tax.

Kawamoto, 81, was president of Tokyo Shoji, a real estate leasing firm liquidated in April last year, and is known for owning the "Marugen" multi-tenant buildings located in several locations including Tokyo's posh Ginza district.

Once named in the Forbes World's Billionaires list, Kawamoto has repeatedly told Kyodo News in the past that his action does not constitute tax evasion but tax savings. He is likely to give the same explanation to the prosecutors, investigative sources said.

Kawamoto was arrested for hiding about 2.9 billion yen in revenue for three years until December 2011, thus avoiding about 862 million yen in corporate tax.

Kawamoto's real estate firm, which was established in Ginza in 2009 but liquidated in April last year after transferring to Kitakyushu city, was managing revenue for the lease of about 30 buildings, the sources said.

Kawamoto owns many buildings for lease not only in Ginza but other popular shopping areas such as Fukuoka Prefecture's Nakasu district. During the asset-bubble period in the late 1980s, he owned many properties abroad including Hawaii.