Japanese Mint Employee Stole 15Kg Gold Bar "To Cover FX Trading Losses"

With USDJPY collapsing in fits and starts and the nightly nattering nabobs of Japanese officialdom sparking mini risk flare-ups in FX markets, we can easily comprehend a part-time currency trader mounting up some losses. But it appears 54-year-old Japanese Mint employee Yutaka Umeno turned the leverage dial to 11 and having lost it all, decided the appropriate solution was to to steal a 15 kilo bar of gold "to cover his FX losses."

As Asahi.com reports, a Japan Mint worker is accused of swiping a 15-kilogram gold bar valued at around $650,000 from under the noses of his colleagues...

Yutaka Umeno, an officer at the Japan Mint's Tokyo Branch near Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward, has been arrested and charged with stealing the gold bar, which was displayed in the Tokyo Branch’s Mint Museum, Saitama prefectural police announced June 20.

The ingot, which measures about 20 centimeters in length, 10 cm in width and 6 cm in height, was found at a pawn shop here, north of Tokyo.

Umeno, 54, who lives in Saitama city’s Nishi Ward and works for the general affairs division at the Japan Mint, has admitted to a charge of theft and told police he did it to “compensate losses made by foreign exchange trading.”

According to the investigators, Umeno made a subordinate remove the gold bar from its display case in the museum on Jan. 5 this year. He lied to the colleague, saying that he needed it for work purposes, which was a plausible reason as the museum sometimes loans the ingot for educational use.

Perhaps even more intriguing is The Mint did not realize the large gold ingot was missing for five months!!

The crime came to light when the worker who removed the bar from the case became suspicious after Umeno, who kept working there, did not return it for five months and reported it to another superior officer.


On a number of occasions after the theft, staff members inquired with Umeno about the location of the bar. Umeno left his post at the Tokyo branch in the middle of the day on June 14. Three days later, a member of his family contacted police after he had not returned home. Saitama Prefectural Police apprehended him therafter.


Yasuhiro Ichiba, the mint’s assistant director of the general affairs department, offered an apology at a press conference in Osaka on Monday. “We will endeavor to ensure that a recurrence does not take place,” he said.

We wonder why the Mint worker did not steal share certificates or Yen... maybe it's a 'tradition' to steal 'valueless' yellow rocks?


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