Ex-Execs of Taisei, Kajima Plead Not Guilty to Maglev Bid-Rigging

Society

Tokyo, Feb. 14 (Jiji Press)--Former Taisei Corp. <1801> executive Takashi Okawa, 68, and former senior Kajima Corp. <1812> official Ichiro Osawa, 61, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to alleged bid-rigging for the Chuo Shinkansen ultrahigh-speed magnetic levitation railway project.

At the first hearing on the case, held at Tokyo District Court, the two major Japanese general contractors also denied the alleged antimonopoly law violation. Okawa said, "I didn't do anything against the law."

In their opening statement, public prosecutors said that Okawa and Osawa started talks on order adjustments by 2013, a year after Central Japan Railway Co. <9022>, or JR Tokai, kicked off full-scale discussions on order placements for the project, in an attempt to prevent contract prices from being lowered due to competition and make sure that the orders would be shared among their companies.

Okawa and Osawa lured officials of two other major general contractors, Obayashi Corp. <1802> and Shimizu Corp. <1803>, into the bid-rigging, the prosecutors said, adding that the officials from the four firms reached an agreement by around February 2015.

According to the indictment, Okawa, Osawa and the officials of Obayashi and Shimizu colluded to prearrange the winners of contracts for three new construction sections at Shinagawa Station in Tokyo and Nagoya Station in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, and exchanged information on price estimates that they planned to submit to JR Tokai.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press