ICE to share Yakuza seized assets with the Nevada Gaming Control Board

LAS VEGAS - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will share more than $60,000 in assets seized from a high-ranking Japanese organized crime figure with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The money is part of nearly $600,000 in funds seized by ICE and forfeited to the federal government from U.S. accounts belonging to high-ranking Japanese organized crime figure Susumu Kajiyama. In addition to the $62,400 in funds being dispersed to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, ICE will also be sharing $381,608 of the seized assets with the Japan Ministry of Justice. This marks the first time U.S. law enforcement has shared seized assets with Japan.

In January 2005, ICE agents executed three federal seizure warrants targeting Los Angeles and Las Vegas bank accounts belonging to Kajiyama, 60, who is currently serving a 6 ½ year sentence in Japan on loan sharking charges. As a result of those warrants, ICE agents in Los Angeles seized two bank accounts containing approximately $342,000 from the Union Bank of California. ICE agents in Las Vegas executed a third seizure warrant targeting an account containing $250,000 in Kajiyama's name at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. ICE agents in Los Angeles and Las Vegas coordinated closely with the agency's attaché office in Tokyo and the Nevada Gaming Control Board on the case.

In August 2003, authorities in Japan arrested Kajiyama on loan sharking charges. According to Japanese investigators, Kajiyama was a senior member of the Yamaguchi-gumi criminal organization and headed the Tokyo-based loan sharking operations for the Goryo-Kai, a subgroup of the Yamaguchi-gumi. The Yamaguchi-gumi is Japan's largest organized crime group with an estimated 20,000 known members. The organization derives a substantial amount of its illicit proceeds from loan sharking enterprises, charging its "clients" up to 380 percent interest.

"ICE is working with law enforcement agencies around the globe to target the criminals and criminal organizations involved in these highly lucrative illegal enterprises," said Miguel Unzueta, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Los Angeles. "Following the money trail and seizing the proceeds generated by these illegal activities is as important as sending the criminals to jail."

ICE's Attaché in Tokyo, Michael Cox, praised the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the Japan National Police Agency and the Japan Ministry of Justice for their cooperation and support in investigating this international money laundering case.

"This investigation shows that ICE, acting in concert with its domestic and international partners, can take action against attempts to use the United States as a haven to launder illicit proceeds," Cox said.