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 Treasury Department Further Targets the Yakuza


4/21/2015
 
Action Targets Kodo-kai Clan and its Chairman

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today took action against the Kodo-kai, a major second-tier affiliate of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest and most prominent Japanese Yakuza syndicate.  The Kodo-kai and its chairman, Teruaki Takeuchi were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters.  Today’s actions are part of the Treasury Department’s ongoing efforts to protect the U.S. financial system from the malign influence of TCOs and to expose persons who are supporting them or acting on their behalf.  

“Today’s action builds upon our efforts to undermine the Yakuza financially and disrupt their transnational criminal activities,” said Acting Director of OFAC John E. Smith.  “We will continue to target and expose members of criminal organizations like the Yakuza as we work to protect the U.S. financial system from their illicit activity.”

The Kodo-kai is known to be the most violent faction within the Yamaguchi-gumi and is headquartered in Nagoya, Japan with about 4,000 members.  Japan’s National Police Agency has reported that weakening the powerful Yamaguchi-gumi is a high priority task and requires tackling the Kodo-kai, which supports the expansion of its parent syndicate.  Among other criminal activities, the Kodo-kai has conducted extortion and engaged in bribery on behalf of the Yamaguchi-gumi and has gained prominence in part for its financial muscle.

OFAC also is imposing sanctions on Teruaki Takeuchi, the chairman of the Kodo-kai.  Kiyoshi Takayama, who is the former Kodo-kai chairman and is the deputy godfather of the Yamaguchi-gumi, promoted Takeuchi as the new chairman of the Kodo-kai in September 2013 and reportedly considers Takeuchi to be his closest advisor.  Takayama was previously designated by Treasury pursuant to E.O. 13581 on February 23, 2012.  Takeuchi is also linked to the Inagawa-kai syndicate, the third largest Yakuza syndicate in Japan, through a symbolic brotherhood he shares with Kazuo Uchibori, the second-in-command of the Inagawa-kai.  Such brotherhoods have the power to signify alliances among Yakuza syndicates. 

President Obama identified the Yakuza as a significant TCO in the Annex to E.O. 13581 on July 24, 2011, and charged the Treasury Department with pursuing additional sanctions against its members and supporters to undermine and interdict their global criminal operations.  In order to conduct its criminal activities, the Yakuza has relationships with criminal affiliates in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.  In the United States, the Yakuza has been involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.  Including today’s action, OFAC has designated 13 senior Yakuza members and five Yakuza entities – the Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai, Inagawa-kai, Kudo-kai, and Kodo-kai.  Today’s designation of the Kodo-kai marks the first time a second-tier Yakuza affiliate is being targeted.

As a result of today’s actions, all assets of the Kodo-kai and of Takeuchi that are based in the United States or are in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

For a chart related to today’s action, click here.

For identifying information regarding the individuals designated today, click here.


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