More details emerged Thursday about Ginza property tycoon Genshiro Kawamoto, 81, who was arrested Tuesday for alleged tax evasion.
According to the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office special investigation squad, Kawamoto spearheaded a plot to cover up earnings and avoid paying 862 million yen in taxes over the three financial years ending December 2011. Kawamoto, who lives in a 5-star hotel in Tokyo, owns the Marugen group whose logo can be seen on several buildings in Ginza and Kitakyushu.
TBS reported Thursday that prosecutors allege that Marugen reportedly had a variety of means of hiding earnings, such as failing to report real rent costs and claiming tenants had failed to pay their rent.
The flamboyant Kawamoto, who was once dubbed “Ginza’s real estate mogul,” has operated properties in high value areas, renting them to businesses such as clubs, bars and pubs. According to sources, Kawamoto began renting property in the late 1960s in Fukuoka Prefecture, where he grew up. From the 1970s, Kawamoto obtained properties in Tokyo, renting to businesses in upscale areas such as Ginza, Akasaka and Roppongi. He also owned a sprawling resort home in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, and regularly appeared in magazines.
During the bubble economy period in the 1980s, Marugen is thought to have operated around 60 buildings across Japan, with their 5,900 tenants paying over 10 billion yen a year. In the late ‘80s, Kawamoto invested in upscale homes and condominiums in Hawaii, but faced criticism from local groups attempting to preserve Hawaiian properties for people of Hawaiian ancestry. His assets are said to be worth more than 100 billion yen, TBS reported.
Recently, Kawamoto was reportedly dividing his time between his hotel residence in Tokyo and a resort home in Hawaii. He once boasted that “only fools” pay taxes.