Former Okinawa City lawyer arrested for embezzlement
Okinawa Police arrested 85-year-old former lawyer Masanori Higa on suspicion of embezzling ¥75 million of a client’s deposit money for private purposes.
According to Okinawa Prefectural Police, Higa is suspected of withdrawing the deposit money in about 200 installments from banks in Okinawa and Ginowan City between April 2006 and December 2009 while he still was active as a lawyer.
The police has searched Higa’s house in Ginowan in connection with the case. Investigators say a client, who is owner of U.S. Military base land, offered Higa a commission around 2005 to sell his land on base, and to pay a tax related to the sale. However, Higa did not pay the tax, and the existence of the unpaid tax that the money withdrawn from the accounts was supposed to be used for came to light.
The case went to court and the court ordered Higa to return the money four years ago. In May this year, the Okinawa Bar Association expelled Higa. He has consistently denied the charges and insists, “I received the money as a commission.”