In brief:
Japanese police has arrested 12 individuals for their alleged involvement in ¥190 million (USD $1.8 million) fake fiat/bitcoin fraud.

Last week, the Japan Times reported a scam involving bitcoin worth ¥190 million (USD $1.8 million). Now, a joint investigation between Tokyo and Hyogo police has led to the arrests of 12 individuals for their alleged involvement in the fraud.

Reportedly, the group of fraudsters offered ¥200 million in cash for the equivalent of ¥190 million in bitcoin to a Tokyo-based marketing firm executive – in his 40s. On July 25, 2017, the deal took place at a Tokyo hotel, through an agent representing the executive. The agent got deceived by the group of conmen as they offered a suitcase containing ¥200 million, majority of which was fake currency. The bitcoin seller in exchange transferred his cryptocurrency to a wallet account of an exchange operator in Yokohama. After two days, to convert the bitcoins into ¥174.2 million in cash, excluding the commission, a co-conspirator approached the exchange.

The police have arrested seven accused, all in their 20s, who attended the meeting at the hotel. Moreover, Kenta Higashi, a 24-year-old mastermind of the fraud as well as the four other suspects are also under arrest.

None of the accused has accepted their guilt, however, during the course of the investigation, the victim has confessed that he had accepted the offer so as to evade the commission fees of crypto exchange services while swapping crypto-to-fiat.

Last year, Japan passed legislation to recognize bitcoin as a legal mode of payment in the country and at present 16 cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan are registered with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). Today, Japan has emerged as the world’s largest trading market for cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin are the highest traded digital currencies in Japan. The country’s financial regulator, Financial Services Agency has declared that at present there are more than 3.5 million active cryptocurrency traders in the country.

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