Japanese politician Tsukasa Akimoto pleads not guilty to IR graft scandal charges

Posted: Mar 30, 2021 10:41 Category: Asia , Land-Based , Regulatory , Posted by Maria Debrincat

The ex- Senior Vice Minister in the Cabinet Office knew that the purpose of the money was to push the Chinese company to win rights to Integrated Resort projects in Japan

Tsukasa Akimoto, who  has been indicted for receiving bribes worth ¥7.6 million from the operator Ltd. and indicted for the violation of the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes over the proposed Hokkaido IR prefecture project, pleaded not guilty on Monday. This was during the first hearing of his trial at the Tokyo District court.

Tsukasa AkimotoAkimoto, the Lower House member aged 49 told the court “I am innocent of all the indictments.’

This was Akimoto’s first public appearance since his arrest in August. At the time of the reported incident, Akimoto was serving as a Senior Vice Minister in the Cabinet Office.

His role was to oversee the government’s plan in opening Integrated Resorts aimed to bolster the economy. With Japan legalising casino gambling in 2018, the government has plans to pick three locations as hosts of integrated resorts.

The prosecutors opened the statement in court with the following accusations:

  • In 2017 and 2018 received 2 million yen ($18,000) from the Chinese company as lecture fees
  • Received 3 million yen in cash from two former advisers to the Chinese company at his office in the Diet members’ building
  • The Chinese company also paid about 2.6 million yen for travel and other expenses for his visit to its headquarters in China and other places
  • Akimoto knew the purpose of money was to help the Chinese company win rights to Integrated Resort projects in Japan
  • Provided information to the company about legislation related to the integrated-resort program

Akimoto prepared part of the money for his supporters to bribe witnesses into giving false testimony in court

8 other people are going down with Akimoto as they have already been proven guilty on the same bribery scandal. Following his initial arrest in December 2019 for allegedly taking bribes Akimoto stepped down from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

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