Police believe that the senior management of Japanese food retailer Kefir took a desperate gamble on the cryptocurrencies market in an eleventh-hour bid to save the company from bankruptcy in 2018 – allegedly sinking millions of investors’ dollars into a so-called shitcoin.
Nine executives at the food chain, which specialized in dairy products, bought cryptoasset using over USD 2.7 million worth of investors’ funds, say Tokyo police – per reports from newspaper Chunichi and Japanese media outlet Coin Post.
The executives, including the company’s 84-year-old ex-president Hideya Kaburaki, were charged under violations of investment laws. Police have not identified the token in question, but say that it is an altcoin that has since become “worthless” and was never listed on an exchange.
The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2018 – at ta time when fraudulence initial coin offerings (ICOs) had become widespread in Japan.
Kaburaki has admitted responsibility, the police have said.
A bankruptcy administrator has stated that the company owes money to some 30,000 investors.
Police have also said that Kefir executives used investor funds to pay dividends years before the company eventually filed for bankruptcy.
The company started life as a yogurt retailer in 1992, but later branched out into selling a range of other dairy items, as well as products like maple syrup and fruit.