Poker player charged by Japanese authorities

Arrested man

If the name Masaaki Kagawa sounds familiar to poker players, the reason is that he used to be a constant presence at major tournaments a couple of years ago. Back in 2008 he began his poker career and bought in for several events, winning roughly $1.5 million. Just a couple of months ago he scooped a prize worth $320,000 by finishing third in the 2013 Aussie Millions Poker Championship.

He also made a brief appearance in the high-stakes poker TV show and played alongside some of the best poker professionals in the world. In the Asia-Pacific region he is well known for playing at high roller events, including prominent tournaments ran by PokerStars. Unfortunately for him, Kagawa is now in the spotlight, not his performance at PokerStars and Monte Carlo Casino EPT grand final €100,000 Super High Roller, but for his arrest.

The Japanese authorities have collected information about Masaaki Kagawa for almost a year and discovered that he was behind an android malware ring. Symantec lent a helping hand and aided investigators in their quest of understanding how Kagawa’s fake dating website and harmful software were used to hurt visitors. Essentially, the malware created by the poker player who is also the president of an IT firm called Koei Planning, used to store and collect details about the owners of infected devices.

The information was then sent to the hackers with the harmful software stealing mostly e-mail addresses, which were then sold for profit. Symantec and the Chiba Prefectural Police in Japan who arrested Masaaki Kagawa, estimate that around 37 million e-mail addresses were stolen using this software. The perpetrator is now in custody with nine more men being arrested as well, and the authorities say that Kagawa was in charge of running the operation.

50 year old Masaaki faces serious charges and is very likely to serve time for his role in the creation and distribution of malware. The fake online dating service that helped him and his accomplices infect hundreds of thousands of android devices with the malware goes by the name of Sakura. Not surprising, the number of people who fell into his trap was significant and that translated into considerable profits, estimated at almost $4 million.

The recent findings by the Chiba Prefectural Police in Japan provided an explanation for many poker players who wondered how it was possible for Masaaki Kagawa to fund his poker expenses. Despite winning an estimated $1.5 million in tournaments, the Japanese player invested much more by buying in at several high rollers events including the One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker in 2012.