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CEO Arrested For $1.2 Million Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Scandal

C-Labo CEO Nishiura Keiichiro has been arrested in a scandal involving fraudulent Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards

Pokémon is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the TCG. There are cheating scandals, scalping drama…It honestly never ends. Now, the CEO of a big company has been arrested over a TCG scheme gone wrong.

There’s no denying that Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards have continued to be a hot ticket item. Even after the pandemic, prices have remained high on the more collectible pulls and scalpers have continued to rush stores to find hot new items. Remember when grown adults were buying hundreds of Happy Meals at a time to get booster packs? The Pokémon TCG community remembers.

But it’s not just collectors and small-scale scalpers that are doing the most for Pokémon cards. C-Labo CEO Nishiura Keiichiro has now been arrested for stealing money and doing suspicious deals with cards.

The Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh TCG Fraud in Japan

C-Labo is a company associated with the retailer known as Animate, a store that specializes in anime merch. Nishiura has been the president of C-Labo for six years. Unfortunately, some shady dealings have put an end to his leadership.

The plan was for Nishiura to have Animate purchase 40,000 Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards from a sketchy and non-legitimate seller. This person would then help Nishiura pocket the money from the purchase, breaking Japan’s Companies Act.

It was reported that the former CEO used the stolen money on “hotels, expensive wine, traveling overseas with women, luxury cars, and paying his own rent.”

In response, C-Labo released an official statement apologizing to customers and trading partners, calling the situation a “great burden and concern.”

The 48-year-old was arrested by Japanese police on November 15, 2023. Turns out the card purchase was totally fake and he had pocketed the equivalent of $1.2 million, according to Unseen Japan.

Apparently, he has attempted similar crimes in the past while CEO of C-Labo, dating back to 2019. On top of that, Nishiura has avoided paying tens of millions in taxes.

Nishiura admitted to all of these crimes during C-Labo’s internal investigation. This admission of guilt prompted the National Tax Agency to open up its own investigation into what he had done, leading to Nishiura being indicted on “suspicions of violating the Corporation Tax Act.”