Japan suspect in COVID relief fraud deported by Indonesia

Jun 21, 2022, 6:23 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 5:54 am
An Indonesian Immigration officer escort Japanese fugitive Mitsuhiro Taniguchi who was arrested on ...

An Indonesian Immigration officer escort Japanese fugitive Mitsuhiro Taniguchi who was arrested on Sumatra island in early June, prior to his deportation in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. Indonesia on Wednesday deported Taniguchi who was wanted by Japanese police for COVID-19 subsidy fraud. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese man accused of defrauding the government of 1 billion yen ($7.3 million) intended for small Japanese businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic was arrested on board a flight Wednesday after being deported from Indonesia, where he fled 1 1/2 years ago.

Mitsuhiro Taniguchi, 47, was arrested by Japanese police who accompanied him from Indonesia. He was taken to a police station after landing at Tokyo’s Narita airport, Japanese media reported. Police confirmed his arrest.

Indonesian immigration official Douglas Simamora said earlier Wednesday that Taniguchi was deported after his passport was revoked by the Japanese government and because he had no Indonesian residence permit.

Indonesian authorities arrested Taniguchi on June 4 at a house owned by a fish trader in Lampung province. During his stay there, he described himself as an investor interested in fisheries. Indonesian authorities are investigating whether other people in that country were involved in the fraud scheme linked to Taniguchi.

In one case, Taniguchi and his accomplice Koichiro Ota, 34, who was separately arrested Wednesday, allegedly defrauded the government of 2 million yen ($14,700) by submitting a false application behalf of someone lacking eligibility for a subsidy, the Tokyo police said.

Taniguchi and a group of acquaintances allegedly submitted about 1,700 false applications for COVID-19 relief funds to the Japanese government and illegally received subsidies on more than 960 of those applications, taking with them about 1 billion yen ($7.3 million), reports say.

Police arrested Taniguchi’s ex-wife and their two sons — believed to be part of a larger group — in May on fraud allegations and were preparing to place Taniguchi on an international wanted list. The three suspects allegedly defrauded the government of 3 million yen ($22,500) in COVID-19 subsidies from June to August 2020.

The case surfaced in August 2020 when the office offering the subsidies consulted with Tokyo police. Taniguchi entered Indonesia two months later on an investor visa.

___

Jatmiko and Tarigan reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, arrives to testif...
Associated Press

Trump aides predicted possible Jan. 6 violence, aide says

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cassidy Hutchinson, a aide in Donald Trump’s White House, told the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on Tuesday that she was “scared, and nervous for what could happen” ahead of the riot after conversations with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and others. Meadows […]
11 hours ago
In this image provided by the New York State Police, Trooper Jimmy Rasaphone, right, poses for a ph...
Associated Press

Trooper crawls into drainage pipe to rescue missing dog

CONKLIN, N.Y. (AP) — A missing golden retriever named Lilah, discovered deep inside a culvert pipe in upstate New York, could not be lured out by her owner with peanut butter dog treats or cheese. In the end, State Trooper Jimmy Rasaphone decided to crawl about 15 feet (5 meters) into the pipe under a […]
11 hours ago
In this photo taken from surveillance video, Richard Cox slides down the back of a police van while...
Associated Press

Crump to represent Randy Cox, Black man hurt in police van

Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday he will lead the legal fight on behalf of Randy Cox, a Black man who was seriously injured in the back of a police van in Connecticut when the driver braked suddenly. Crump also called for a federal civil rights investigation into the treatment of Cox, 36, […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Anti-Black and Asian bias fuel California hate crime surge

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hate crimes in California shot up 33% to nearly 1,800 reported incidents in 2021, the sixth highest tally on record and the highest since after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the state attorney general’s office said Tuesday. Attorney General Rob Bonta said that crimes against Black people were again the […]
11 hours ago
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a media conference during the G7 summit at Castle Elmau ...
Associated Press

COVID: Paris court rules govt failed to stockpile face masks

PARIS (AP) — A Paris court ruled on Tuesday that the French government failed to sufficiently stock up on surgical masks at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and prevent the virus from spreading. The ruling came as the number of registered infections with coronavirus variants rises sharply. It wasn’t immediately clear if […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Key moments in Flint, Michigan’s lead-tainted water crisis

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan Supreme Court order that charges related to the Flint water scandal against former Gov. Rick Snyder, his health director and seven other people must be dismissed is the latest development in the crisis that started in 2014. That was when the city began taking water from the Flint River […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
Japan suspect in COVID relief fraud deported by Indonesia