A British businessman in Tokyo, whose disappearance provoked lurid rumours about his assassination by Japanese gangsters, slipped out of the country after withdrawing £40,000 of his company’s money.
Police have stopped searching for 41-year old Garin Dart, a Tokyo resident who organised parties for expatriates, because they believe that he has run away. The news will lead to conjecture about what drove a father to abandon his pregnant wife, child, friends and colleagues, and vanish.
“We are not actively moving [on this],” said Superintendent Hiroshi Kozono of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, who confirmed from immigration that Mr Dart left Japan after his disappearance for an unknown destination. “There is a possibility of embezzlement.”
Mr Dart was well-known among Tokyo expatriates. His company, Bluesilver, organised parties and fundraising events for some of the city’s biggest foreign companies, including banks, law firms and airlines.
He had recently established an office in Hong Kong, and was embarking on a business selling a stopper for wine bottles, which were manufactured in China. His wife, Yukako, 38, is pregnant with their second child.
He also set up a network called Foreign Volunteers Japan to help communities in northeastern Japan which were devastated by the 2011 tsunami. Friends and business contacts reported that he appeared tired and overworked,and was struggling to fulfil commitments to organise 35 events within a month. However, those who worked with him reported nothing odd on the day of his disappearance on May 22.
According to his family and Canadian business partner, Bruno Dammizio, he was not heard from after sending texts at 1pm on his way to a meeting in the Shinjuku area.
Those that knew him have declined to discuss what happened before that, when Mr Dart went to a bank and withdrew 6 million (£39,500) from a Bluesilver account. According to Superintendent Kozono, some of this was deposited in Mr Dart’s personal bank account, and part taken in cash. His assistant, Ayako Kawauchi, told police that she usually handled banking, and that for Mr Dart to do so was unusual.
Mr Dart’s wife, Yukako, 38, reported him missing two days later, and a few days, expatriate social media pages were buzzing with rumours and speculation. One posting on the Foreign Volunteers Japan website claimed that Mr Dart was “killed because he stopped the yakuza [Japanese gangsters] doing a bad thing”. Some of Mr Dart’s friends were puzzled when his family asked them not to distribute flyers or posters appealing for information about him.
When a British woman, Lucie Blackman, disappeared in Japan in 2000, it was sustained campaigning by her family that pressured police into catching her killer. But when Mr Dart’s mother, Finella Dean, 64, came out to Tokyo, she did not meet the police. Both she and Yukako Dart declined to answer questions about Mr Dart’s disappearance , as did Mr Dammizio, who invested in the company last October.
There have been no criminal complaints against Mr Dart. A spokesman for Bluesilver, who declined to be named, said: “The fact he was carrying a large amount of money is compatible with the event business. Some vendors prefer cash.”