Police raid pro-N. Korea insurer over alleged asset concealment

Tokyo police raided offices across the nation of an insurer serving pro-Pyongyang Korean residents in Japan on Sunday on suspicion of concealing assets in an attempt to foil debt collection by the government-backed Resolution and Collection Corp., investigative sources said. Affiliated with the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, a pro-Pyongyang nationwide organization known as Chongryon, the Tokyo-based Kongo Hoken insurer is suspected of having withdrawn deposits from its bank accounts around the end of last year to avoid their being confiscated by the RCC, according to the sources. The RCC has been trying to collect loans it had purchased from 16 failed pro-Pyongyang credit unions, including 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) in loans extended to Kongo Hoken from the now-defunct Chogin Tokyo credit union. Established in April 1977, Kongo Hoken has some 30 branches across the nation and employs more than 100 people, according to publicly available legal documents and sources familiar with the insurer. The RCC filed a lawsuit against Chongryon in November 2005, seeking the return of 62.7 billion yen ($557 million), part of the nonperforming loans the debt-collecting entity had taken over from the failed credit unions, after finding that the recipients of the 62.7 billion yen in loans handed over the sum to Chongryon. In June 2007, the Tokyo District Court ordered Chongryon to repay 62.7 billion yen as demanded to the RCC. However in June this year, the RCC filed a fresh suit against Chongryon after it failed to repay 57 billion yen of the sum. In the suit aimed at disrupting the progress of the 10-year statute of limitation for loans, the RCC demanded Chongryon to pay 91 billion yen, including interest payment, a request wholly accepted by the district court in August. If this ruling is finalized, the statute of limitations will extend by another 10 years.

17 hours ago | KYODO NEWS