“Ex-Olympic Athlete Arrested for Involvement in Cryptocurrency Scam”


In Chiba, Japan, a former Olympic judoka and company executive has been arrested for allegedly defrauding an elderly woman. Kenji Maruyama, 58, is accused of convincing the victim to invest 40 million yen (approximately $266,870) in cryptocurrency, promising a guaranteed return. The police in Chiba believe that there may be more victims and the total damages could be in the hundreds of millions of yen.

Maruyama, who competed in the 1992 judo world championships and the Barcelona Olympics, retired from judo to run a workshop for children in Fukuoka Prefecture. In November, he was interviewed by the Asahi Shimbun regarding the allegations. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Question: You convinced investors to pay money for a fund that was supposed to purchase cryptocurrency. How much money has been spent and where?

Maruyama: I used the money for travel expenses and other personal expenses. The conversion of the cryptocurrency into cash is still ongoing, so I have not received much myself.

Q: Did you intend to deceive the investors?

A: No, I had no intention of deceiving anyone. I introduced them to cryptocurrency with good intentions.

Q: Why did you ask your friends and family to invest in Bitcoin?

A: Seven years ago, a woman I met through a friend asked for my help in promoting OneCoin cryptocurrency on Facebook. Initially, I was not interested, but then my friend encouraged me to attend a seminar in Tokyo where I saw some famous people and believed it was a legitimate investment opportunity.

Q: How did you meet the victim who paid 40 million yen?

A: She was introduced to me by someone I met at the seminar.

This article was written by Natsu Miyasaka and Yunisu Mahar, and more information can be found about Itsuhiro Suzuki.

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