JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian authorities have arrested a Japanese fugitive for his role in an alleged Covid-19 subsidy fraud in his home country.
Mitsuhiro Taniguchi, 47, who was arrested by immigration officers and backed by local police on Tuesday, June 7 at about 10:30 pm local time, left Japan for Indonesia in October 2020, according to National Police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo.
“MT (Mitsuhiro Taniguchi) was arrested in Kalirejo village of Central Lampung district,” Dedi told journalists on Wednesday, June 8.
The Associated Press reported Taniguchi and a group of acquaintances allegedly submitted some 1,700 false applications for Covid-19 relief funds. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department believes they received subsidies in more than 960 of those applications for an estimated 960 million yen ($7.3 million).
Tokyo police arrested Taniguchi’s ex-wife and their two sons on May 30 on suspicion of fraud and Tokyo’s MPD placed him on an international wanted list, according to the Japanese newspaper The Mainichi Shimbun. It said the three are suspected of defrauding the government of 3 million yen ($22,500) in Covid-19 subsidies from June to August 2020.
The scheme was uncovered in August 2020 when the office offering the subsidies consulted with the Tokyo police. Taniguchi is believed to have fled Japan two months later, Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported.
Taniguchi will be handed over to the Directorate of Immigration’s Supervision and Enforcement division. Taniguchi was wanted by Japanese police in May 2022.
Previously, the Indonesian Police via Interpol Jakarta coordinated with the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights to investigate Taniguchi's whereabouts.