Regulators Are Going After Japan's Yakuza By Freezing Their AmEx Cards

When you go after the mafia, you gotta hit ’em where it hurts: their AmEx cards.

Bloomberg’s T
erje Langeland and Takahiko Hyuga report the U.S. Treasury has since 2011 frozen $US55,000 worth of assets in the names of suspected Japanese Yakuza members, including two American Express cards issued by the Japanese branch of the New York-based firm.

Treasury was also able to block an insurance policy issued through a Japanese unit of AIG, and seize $US11,276 in shares of Gen-Probe Inc., a San Diego-based medical diagnostics company that was recently spun off from a Japanese pharmaceutical firm.

And they’ve apparently only just begun.

“It’s a pin prick in terms of the impact that we’re expecting to deliver,” Adam Szubin, director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, told Bloomberg.

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