WASHINGTON — The United States imposed sanctions Tuesday on two companies and four individuals in Japan associated with a yakuza crime syndicate over their alleged involvement in money laundering and drug trafficking.
In reference to the Yamaguchi-gumi, Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said, “We are ramping up pressure on this dangerous Japanese crime syndicate and local gang leaders who profit from everything from sexual exploitation, to weapons smuggling, and extortion.”
“By exposing this broad network of front companies and individuals supporting the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza syndicate, we intend to disrupt the global financial infrastructure of this illicit transnational criminal organization.”
The action against two Kobe-based real estate companies and four Yamaguchi-gumi members blocks the designated parties’ assets that are in the United States or in the control of U.S. nationals. It also generally prohibits Americans from engaging in transactions with them.
Yakuza groups have ties with criminal affiliates in Asia, Europe and the Americas, where they use front companies in legitimate industries including construction, real estate and finance to launder money and hide illicit proceeds, according to the Treasury Department.
In the United States, they have been accused of money laundering and drug trafficking.