The United States on Thursday moved to block seven international organized crime leaders from the country’s financial markets, including a Japanese yakuza godfather and key members of a gang operating in four continents. The godfather and deputy godfather of the most prominent yakuza crime family, the Yamaguchi-gumi, played key roles in directing the syndicate’s policies and settling disputes with other groups, Treasury said. It estimated that the family generates billions of dollars a year in illicit proceeds. Imposing sanctions on the Yamaguchi-gumi leaders, Kenichi Shinoda and Kiyoshi Takayama, as well as five members of the Brothers’ Circle, a criminal group which operates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, forces U.S. financial institutions to freeze their assets in the United States. Treasury declined to provide details on the value of the assets the two crime networks hold in the United States. The department does not plan to publicly release the amount that will eventually be frozen.

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