US seizes assets of Japan’s number one criminal “godfather”
The “godfather” leader of Japan’s biggest organised crime group has been blacklisted in the United States as part of a major crackdown on the world’s most powerful gangs.
Kenichi Shinoda, the number one boss at the helm of the Yamaguchi-gumi
Kenichi Shinoda, the number one boss at the helm of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s most prominent “yakuza” family, and his number two Kiyoshi Takayama, have had their assets seized in the US and have been banned from financial transactions.
The clampdown follows a series of attempts by Japanese authorities to limit the illegal activities of “yakuza” organisations, which have operated openly in Japan for decades.
Shinoda operates the Yamaguchi-gumi, which is headquartered in Kobe city and is the largest of Japan’s yakuza organisations, with an estimated 34,900 members, according to National Police Agency figures.
The organisation is estimated to generate billions of pounds every year from international operations including trafficking in weapons, humans and drugs as well prostitution, market manipulation, extortion and money laundering.
Shinoda, the current godfather — known as “kumicho” in Japanese — has a colourful record of criminal activity, most recently emerging from jail in April last year, wearing a red leather hat and sunglasses, after serving six years for illegal gun possession.
The 70-year-old leader, who is believed to have masterminded an aggressive expansion of the organisation since taking over seven years ago, previously spent time in prison after he killed a rival with a samurai sword.
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- Yakuza Godfather Targeted in Obama Crackdown on Organized Crime (businessweek.com)
- US freezes Japan gangster funds (bbc.co.uk)