The minister for Internal Affairs in Japan, Seiko Noda, has denied interfering in the investigation of an alleged cryptocurrency exchange firm, while stating that she has no interest in the exchange company investigation, according to a recent report by Asahi Shimbun.
The minister could be charged with trying to interfere in a government investigation as a cabinet member.
Although Noda admitted that one of her aides was present at a meeting during which a Financial Services Agency representative clarified the agency’s stance on regulations guiding the funds raised by dispensing digital currencies on January 30. She said; “My aide and the employee of the company know each other.”
Also, the minister’s office revealed that it would delegate a company representative to be present at the briefing since the company had consulted with her office with respect to the matter.
The Caution by the Financial Services Agency of Japan
In January 2018, the unnamed firm was cautioned by the Financial Services Agency for allegedly offering crypto related exchanges services to customers even without being registered and authorized to do so.
The financial agency reportedly stressed that such an action is punishable by law as it violates the country’s payment services regulation after the company offered its own digital currency in October.
The Financial Services Agency gave a deadline for answers after which it called for responses from the alleged company stating that it would report the matter to other authorities for further investigations.
The Minister Discredits Reports About Her Interest
Asahi Shimbun claimed that Noda’s office wanted to know how far the agency had gone concerning the company’s investigation after Noda’s office reportedly contacted the agency through a document some days after it issued the warning to the alleged firm.
A senior official noted that the move by Noda’s office could be interpreted as pressure, stating that:
“A public servant will likely take it as pressure if an aide to a sitting Cabinet member calls for a meeting in which an employee of a company the agency is looking into is also present.”
Although sources suggested that it was Noda’s aide, the name of the person requesting the meeting had been removed from the document.
Recently, Noda informed Asahi Shimbun that she was not aware that Financial Service Agency had warned the unnamed company about its unauthorized services. She stated that:
“Since we received a request for details of the regulations concerning cryptocurrency exchanges, we arranged (to meet with the agency). I was not aware of the agency’s warning against the company.”
She further claimed that the purpose of the meeting was to give an adequate understanding of cryptocurrency exchanges adding that the requested briefing did not involve pressure.
Following the hack of a Tokyo-based crypto exchange platform, Coincheck earlier in January, several Japanese Financial authorities have been scrutinizing both exchange firms and the crypto market as a whole.