A Worrisome Brand of Japanese Investor

EVEN AS THE FBI IS GAINING GROUND ON THE AMERICAN branch of the Mafia, it is getting ready to take on a new threat: the YAKUZA -- Japanese mobsters. An estimated 100,000 yakuza in Japan rake in some $10 billion a year from narcotics, extortion and loan-sharking. As the gangs channel that cash into legitimate investments in the U.S. and Europe, the FBI will be hard pressed to decipher the money trail. One reason: money laundering is not a crime in Japan, so the mobsters can operate through shell corporations without the kind of close scrutiny at home that hampers crooks...

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