U.S. Group Sues Japanese Papers Over Organized Crime Allegations

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(AP) A New York-based investment group sued a Japanese media company Thursday, saying it had been wrongfully accused of being associated with members of Japanese organized crime.

Cerberus Capital Management LP filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, accusing The Mainichi Newspapers Co. of publishing a story last week alleging that the private equity fund was linked to organized crime in Japan.

According to the lawsuit, the article was published on the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper’s front page on Jan. 12.

The lawsuit said the article contained a diagram “explicitly stating that ‘Cerberus Group’ is in the chain of a flow of funds, a portion of which was purportedly paid to members of organized crime.”

In the lawsuit, Cerberus said it had no reason to believe that any of its employees or representatives have any ties to Japanese organized crime.

The lawsuit asked for damages of at least $100 million, saying compensatory damages alone would exceed that number and that additional damages were owed because of damage to the company’s reputation in Japan and the United States.

A message seeking comment from the Tokyo-based newspaper was not immediately returned Thursday.

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