Former managers of a farm located near the Fukushima nuclear plant are accused of deceiving clients investing in the farm’s wagyu cattle ownership system.
The three former Agura farm managers have yet to be charged, but are accused of misleading investors who were expecting up to an eight percent return on the money they invested in cattle on the farm.
Quartz reports investors could purchase wagyu breeding cattle at the farm for between $35,000 and $58,000 per head. Investors planned to collect money after calves from the farm’s herd were sold and could sell the animal back to the farm when they wanted to end their investment.
The Wall Street Journal reports trouble arose in 2010 when a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak hit the area and continued with the 2011 nuclear accident, resulting in reduced area beef prices and lowered sales.
A lawyer representing the victims says the farm misrepresented the number of cattle on the farm and 73,000 investors ended up losing nearly $4.34 billion. The farm claimed to own at least 90,000 head when in fact numbers totaled closer to 60,000.
The farm faced debts totaling $801 million and filed for protection from creditors in August 2011.
Agura farm is located less than 100 kilometers from the nuclear plant hit by the tsunami.