Japan university accused of using funds to buy crypto

A university in Japan is facing backlash for using school funds to purchase cryptocurrency. While investing in digital assets isn’t necessarily a bad idea, the way this particular series of events transpired has led to an official investigation and the removal of the school’s chairwoman of the board. So far, it appears that at least $1 million may have been embezzled.

The story comes by way of Mainichi Shimbun, one of Japan’s oldest newspapers. It reported a couple of days ago that the Meijo Gakuin Educational Corporation is being investigated by the Osaka Regional Taxation Bureau for having allegedly embezzled school funds to purchase crypto. According to the ongoing investigation, the school’s chairperson, Meijo Gakuin, ordered the board to take almost $928,700 of university money to purchase SegWitCoin (BTC). 

The investigation was a result of the drop in BTC price and, most likely, because of certain board members chatting about the activity outside the boardroom. The taxman decided to look into the school’s affairs to determine if it was trying to evade its tax obligations or if school assets had been concealed.

According to reports, the 61-year-old Gakuin, and others, transferred 100 million yen (about $1 million) from the school to ostensibly cover the operating costs associated with the Osaka University of Tourism, which is run by an affiliate. That transfer took place in April of last year, but the money was later used to purchase crypto. Gakuin gave up her position on the board this past June as a result of the scandal.

There are also concerns about other funds missing from the school. The news outlet points out that another 2.1 billion yen (about $19.46 million) is unaccounted for after it was transferred in as a deposit on a land deal tied to the Meijo Gakuin High School. A real estate development company had agreed to purchase part of the land at the school for 3.2 billion yen ($29.66 million) and made the deposit toward that purchase to a brokerage firm, Sun Kikaku, in Osaka. However, no one can figure out where the money is at this point, but a consulting company involved in the transaction says that it transferred the funds to another account on Gakuin’s orders.

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