The special investigation department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office yesterday announced the arrest of Makino Masaya (42), CEO of the former Avant-Garde talent management agency, on charges of tax evasion. The company is said to have hidden earnings of almost ¥1.2 billion over a period of three years up to the end of 2006, and evaded taxes to the tune of ¥345 million. Makino set up the company in 1989 and it became known as one of the largest stables of young, pretty, and largely disposable female talent. The dozens of girls and young women on its books would appear in magazines and manga, as pinup “idols,” race queens and a multitude of other decorative functions. In recent years the company represented such established celebrities as Ogura Yuko (photo, 25) and Manabe Kaori (28), and manipulating the increasing revenues generated from their growing popularity was done using an affiliation of paper companies. Over the last couple of years, the business underwent several changes of name in a game of cat and mouse with the tax authorities and is currently known as Ichi Estate Corporation.