Missing expat businessman Garin Dart resurfaces

News & Views - January 15th, 2014
garin-dart-found

Eight months after disappearing under mysterious circumstances, expat businessman Garin Dart has resurfaced in Yorkshire.

When the 41-year-old CEO of Bluesilver, a high-profile events management company, disappeared on May 22, 2013, rumors ran high. His wife Yukako was pregnant with the couple’s second son, and Dart had left no word with anyone. Some thought he had been kidnapped, while others speculated that the popular expat had been murdered.

As the investigation continued, an odd detail came up: Dart had withdrawn ¥6 million from his company’s account before disappearing. Following this revelation, Japanese police called off their investigation. But his specific whereabouts remained a mystery. Friends said that he looked like he had been working hard, but a colleague said that it was “completely out of his character” to just disappear.

“There has been speculation about why I left, but that is not something I would have run away from for £40,000.”

The better part of that mystery has now been solved with Dart’s appearance in Yorkshire. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dart said that he was forced to flee Japan because of threats from the yakuza. Although he attests that he never did business with organized crime members, he did frequently rub shoulders with characters from the criminal underworld as a part of working in the high-profile hospitality industry.

During a night of drinking with one of these companions, Dart said that the gangster told him that he intended to kill one of his friends. As his story goes, Dart warned the friend, provoking the yakuza member’s wrath: “He said he would kill me and hurt my pregnant wife and son . . . It was terrifying. I feared something would happen to my family and I knew I was in trouble.”

Dart said that he withdrew the money in order to pay the yakuza for his silence. After giving him the money, however, the threats continued, and the yakuza finally said that he needed to disappear in order to assure the safety of his family. According to Dart, “If the mafia say they will kill you, they will. But if they say you are safe, you are safe.” He fled to Thailand with only the shirt on his back, and stayed out of touch with family and friends for several months, until he reached out to his sister via Facebook, still too ashamed to speak to his wife for having left so abruptly. Police told his family that he had left the country, but privacy laws prevented them from revealing where he went in the first place.

After moving back to England in October, Dart found a job and he has been in touch with his wife. Needless to say, “She was upset. She was angry that I hadn’t got in touch. That is the biggest thing I regret.” His son was born several weeks ago, but he is unsure of when—or if—he will be able to return to Japan. “I don’t know about the future,” he said. “In Tokyo I had a great lifestyle. I had a couple of nice cars on the drive, houses, a great business. I had my wife and child. There has been speculation about why I left, but that is not something I would have run away from for £40,000.”

—Alec Jordan