Suspect in COVID-19 subsidy scam says he set up an investment firm in Dubai

Investigative sources in Japan say the alleged mastermind of a coronavirus subsidy scam told them that he had set up an investment company in Dubai. Tokyo police suspect he aimed to obtain a long-term visa.

Police arrested 31-year-old Matsue Daiki upon his return from Dubai on Monday. He is suspected of collecting the subsidy in 2020 by having another person file false claims that business income had drastically fallen due to the pandemic.

Matsue is believed to have led a group that allegedly instructed people on ways to file false applications. The group members received part of the subsidies.

Police say Matsue left for Dubai in early February, shortly after the group's key members were arrested.

Police suspect Matsue hoped to obtain a three-year visa issued to people who set up companies in Dubai.

They believe Matsue collected about 80 percent of the subsidies paid to people who filed false claims, and that he planned to invest the money.

Investigators say Matsue has not admitted to or denied the charges.