March 7, 2007

Ryozanpaku Exec Nabbed on Stock Price Manipulation Charges

Osaka, March 7 (Jiji Press)--Harukuni Toyotomi, de facto leader of Ryozanpaku Co., an Osaka-based gaming strategy instruction firm, and six other people were arrested on stock price manipulation charges Wednesday.

The seven people including Toyotomi, 56, and Yatsumi Kawakami, 41, an investment advisory firm executive, are suspected of repeatedly trading in shares of BeMap Inc. , a Tokyo-based developer of software and services for mobile devices, between March 4 and March 18 of 2005 in a bid to raise the price, in violation of the securities and exchange law.

During the period, the share price of BeMap, listed on the Osaka Securities Exchange's Hercules market for startups, surged to about 410,000 yen from some 280,000 yen. They are suspected of making profits of over 200 million yen.

Ryozanpaku provides information via the Internet and books on how to do well at "pachinko" pinball and "pachislo" slot machines.

Toyotomi admitted the allegation, saying that he had followed a scheme of Kawakami and traded in BeMap shares via accounts under borrowed names, informed sources said.

The names of the holders of the accounts used for the transactions included several former organized crime bosses related to Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's biggest underworld syndicate, the sources said.

Police are questioning more than 10 people suspected of lending their names to Toyotomi's group so that papers can be sent to prosecutors, the sources said.

The Osaka prefectural police department and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission jointly raided Ryozanpaku's head office and other locations on Feb. 14 this year in search of evidence on suspected stock price manipulation.END

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