Valextra

MILAN — Valextra said Wednesday that there is no connection between the Italian luxury leather goods brand and an investigation into alleged fraudulent remittances by the head of its Japanese operations.

Jong Mastumoto, who held the role of managing director of Valextra Japan, was arrested last week. He joined Valextra in 2009.

“We found out about these allegations through the media and it was a shocking surprise, I immediately flew to Japan to try and understand what happened,” Sara Ferrero, chief executive officer of Valextra, told WWD in a phone interview. “It was totally unexpected.

“We don’t know much because the investigations are still taking place, so in this phase the police and lawyers do not release any information. Our team is shocked, there is no connection whatsoever between Valextra and the issues at the heart of the accusations. In fact, we have never even been contacted by the police,” said Ferrero.

Valextra Japan and Valextra Group have “no connection to the current legal investigations concerning Jong Matsumoto,” stated the company. “Valextra has always been governed by the most rigorous ethical and business standards, in Japan as well as in all markets where it operates. We will cooperate fully with the Japanese authorities and take necessary action as appropriate.”

Matsumoto allegedly subtracted a sum that roughly translates to around 800,000 euros in connection with a bankruptcy of his own company, reportedly called Sunset, in 2014. This company has no link to Valextra.

“We are taking all the necessary steps to distance ourselves from Matsumoto and to end the relation with him as chief executive officer for good cause,” said Ferrero. “Japan is a very important market for us and our operations are transparent.”

Ferrero joined Valextra in 2015 and has been spearheading the growth of the brand, known for its sophisticated and hand-crafted bags and leather goods marked by a signature lacquered piping. Valextra is controlled by London-based investment firm NEO Capital.

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