Two men, both in their twenties, have been arrested by Tokyo police on computer fraud charges related to the theft of $700,000 (78 million yen) worth of Bitcoin.
According to the Japan Times, Yuto Onitsuka and his accomplice Takuma Sasaki have been charged with siphoning-off funds from a Tokyo-based crypto management firm that Onitsuka previously worked for.
Sasaki allegedly used Onitsuka’s credentials to access the company’s Bitcoin wallets and transferred the BTC to his own accounts.
In total, just over $700,000 worth of Bitcoin was stolen, with some of the money being transferred to Sasaki’s bank directly – which he then reportedly spent on travel and other personal items.
Allegedly, the two suspects had never met in person and had become known to each other through an online forum dedicated to digital currencies.
It is unclear how Sasaki convinced Onitsuka to give him the wallet details or to what extent Onitsuka benefited financially from the theft – if at all.
Onitsuka had commented on the forum that he wanted to bankrupt the digital asset company he was working for as he was dissatisfied with his role in the company and disagreed with its management policies.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s cybercrime unit shared that the Bitcoin had been taken in one lump sum from the company’s accounts on October 29 2018 – which the suspects then allegedly cashed out via both Japanese and foreign exchanges.
The name of the crypto company involved in the theft has not been officially released.
Japanese officials still eye crypto with caution
Japanese authorities clamped down on crypto cases last year, and the country’s government still has a sceptical view of cryptocurrency as a whole.
As Coin Rivet reported in March 2019, a Japanese teenager was prosecuted for his role in the theft of ¥15 million worth of Bitcoin, around $134,000 at the time, which he stole from a crypto storage website called Monappy.
Likewise, in April last year, Japan tightened regulation on cryptocurrencies, officially making crypto assets legal property under the payment services act.
Earlier this month, Japan’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency, announced that it would be cutting leverage on cryptocurrency trading products to just two times the trader’s margin amount in a bid to prevent losses.
You can read more about Japanese crypto news here.