Japanese with fake gold certificates charged
MANILA, Philippines—A Japanese national has been charged with economic sabotage in the Manila Regional Trial Court after he was caught with fake dollar gold certificates worth $19.6 million.
Yoshihiro Hasegawa, 67, a retired worker from Saitama, Japan, was initially detained at the Manila Police District (MPD) after he failed to pay his hotel bills at the City Garden Suites on Mabini Street, Ermita, according to court records.
The suspect underwent inquest proceedings for estafa on Jan. 21 with the hotel management turning over his personal belongings to the police.
During an inventory conducted by Police Officers 3 Jayjay Jacob and Adonis Aguila of the MPD General Assignment Investigation Section, they found a metal safe box with the markings “Wells Fargo Bank Buffalo,” “The Department of Treasury,” and “Series of 1928.” It contained two bundles of partially burnt dollar gold certificates (bills in 100,000 denomination) and a treasury note worth $20 million.
The dollar bills were fakes based on an examination done by the Currency Analysis and Communication Division of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. This prompted Assistant City Prosecutor Ronaldo Hubilla to recommend the filing of the economic sabotage case without bail against Hasegawa.
Fake foreign treasury notes undermine, weaken or render into disrepute the economic system of the Republic of the Philippines, the case information said. The case was filed with the accused opting not to avail of his right to a preliminary investigation.
According to the US Department of the Treasury website, gold certificates are used only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and are not circulated among the general public.
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