Police in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan have arrested four men on suspicion of crypto investment fraud, according to a report by Kyodo News. 

Fast facts

  • According to a person familiar with the matter, it was suspected that a total of at least 6 billion yen (US$54 million) was collected from more than 20,000 people across Japan.
  • Those arrested include Ishida Shoji, the operator of the OZ Project investment business. Other suspects were Takuya Hashiyada, 46, Yukihiro Yamashita, 61, and Masamichi Toshima, 52, a solicitor.
  • Sources say investigators suspect the group lured investors four years ago, promising returns of 2.5 times the value of their investments through an AI-based trading system four months later, according to an Asahi report. 
  • They also suspect that the group held seminars in various parts of the country, saying that returns would be paid in Bitcoin or via the company’s own points-based system. 
  • Scammers have been using emerging digital assets as bait to lure gullible investors in Asia and around the world