The U.S. Department of the Treasury today took action against four senior members of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest and most prominent Japanese Yakuza syndicate. Tadashi Irie, Hirofumi Hashimoto, Toshio Masaki, and Shoroku Ishida were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13581, which targets significant transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters. These efforts are designed to protect the U.S. financial system from the malign influence of transnational criminal organizations and expose the individuals who are supporting or acting on behalf of the Yakuza.
"Today's action builds upon our efforts to undermine the financial stability of the Yakuza and disrupt their transnational drug-trafficking and money laundering efforts," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "We will continue to target and expose members of criminal organizations like these as we work to protect the U.S. financial system from their illicit activity."
President Obama identified the Yakuza as a significant TCO in the Annex to E.O. 13581 (Blocking Property of Transnational Criminal Organizations) 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 their criminal activities, the Yakuza maintain a global criminal network of affiliates in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. In the U.S., the Yakuza have been involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. To date, the Treasury Department has designated ten Yakuza members along with the top three largest Yakuza groups, the Yamaguchi-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai, and the Inagawa-kai.
The Yamaguchi-gumi is involved in criminal endeavors in Japan and abroad, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, extortion, prostitution, fraud and money laundering, and Treasury is targeting its members today for acting for or on behalf of the Yakuza.
Tadashi Irie is the third-in-command of the Yamaguchi-gumi, following Godfather Kenichi Shinoda and Deputy Godfather Kiyoshi Takayama, whom Treasury designated on February 23, 2012. Irie is a salient figure in the Yamaguchi-gumi known for playing a key role in the syndicate's management alongside Takayama during the incarceration of the clan's Godfather between 2005 and 2011. With Takayama being sentenced to six years in prison in March 2013, Irie is expected to once again assume greater responsibility for the syndicate. Irie also serves as President of a large subsidiary gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi called the Takumi-gumi.
Hirofumi Hashimoto is the fourth-in-command of the Yamaguchi-gumi, serving in the position of Supervisory Commission Chief. Hashimoto also heads the Kyokushin-Rengo-kai, a subsidiary gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi and is known for his financial acumen.
Toshio Masaki is the regional leader of Yamaguchi-gumi clans in the Chūbu region in central Japan and oversees approximately 6,780 Yamaguchi-gumi members. Masaki also serves as President of the Masaki-gumi, a subsidiary gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi.
Shoroku Ishida holds the position of Advisor in the Yamaguchi-gumi and serves as President of the Shoyu-kai, a subsidiary gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi based in Northern Osaka.
As a result of today's designation, any assets these individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from doing business with them.