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Japanese billionaire's firm failed to report 500 mil. yen in income

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- An asset management company belonging to Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire and founder of the major online clothing store Zozotown, failed to declare about 500 million yen ($4.6 million) in taxable income, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

    Following the underreporting of income over three years through March 2019, Maezawa's company corrected its tax report as pointed out by the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau, but paid no additional levies as the undeclared income had been offset by losses, they said.

    The 44-year-old, who has grabbed attention in recent years for his luxurious lifestyle, also failed to report as much as 99 million yen over the three years through 2018 in personal taxable income believed to have been earned from selling paintings, the sources said.

    But the former fashion entrepreneur later corrected his declaration, with the additional tax and penalty fee totaling about 40 million yen.

    According to the sources, Maezawa is believed to have paid usage fees for a private jet owned by his asset management firm in Tokyo's Minato Ward for personal travel. The Tokyo bureau has deemed the amount paid as insufficient and the shortfall thus constituted the company's failure to declare income.

    In a YouTube video posted last December, Maezawa said, "It has been nearly four years since the purchase of the jet. I use it a lot as it is convenient."

    Maezawa tweeted on Wednesday, "I will neither hide nor escape. If the tax office points out anything in the way the taxes have been handled, I will not hesitate to pay the taxes so please use them wisely."

    Maezawa stepped down last year as CEO of Zozo Inc. He grabbed world attention when he was named by U.S. tech billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX as the first private passenger on a planned flight around the Moon.

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