Name suppression lapses for former East Wind employee facing SFO charges

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Name suppression has lapsed for a former East Wind Company senior employee facing Serious Fraud Office charges.

Yuko Hanyu faces a charge of theft by a person in a special relationship and six representative charges of false accounting related to her role with East Wind.

East Wind Company was part of the East Wind Group, which marketed itself as offering financial services and immigration support to New Zealand’s Japanese community.

The group collapsed in February 2019 and was placed into liquidation, following the death of director Masatomo Ashikaga (also known as Tom Tanaka).

The SFO alleges that the financial products offered by the company – the Group Term Deposit, Waterloo Fund, and Restaurant Fund – operated as Ponzi schemes, involving more than $26 million of customer investments.

Ms Hanyu was the manager of the company’s finance department from 2004 to December 2017.

Ms Hanyu has entered pleas of not guilty to all charges and is next due to appear at the Auckland District Court on 2 March 2022 for case review.

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