Japanese Lawmaker Akimoto Arrested for Bribery over Casino Plan

Society

Tokyo, Dec. 25 (Jiji Press)--Japanese prosecutors on Wednesday arrested ruling party lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto for allegedly taking 3.7 million yen in bribes, including cash, from a Chinese company that was planning to open a casino resort in Japan.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation team suspects that the 48-year-old member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, received the bribes in return for favors he did for the Shenzhen-based firm, 500.com, which engages in online lottery and other operations.

Akimoto, a Liberal Democratic Party member elected from a Tokyo constituency, denies the allegations, according to a lawyer. He once served as state minister in charge of casino resorts at the Cabinet Office. He quit the LDP on Wednesday.

He was the first Japanese lawmaker arrested by the special team since January 2010, when then Lower House member Tomohiro Ishikawa was nabbed for allegedly violating the political funds control law over a scandal related to Rikuzankai, a fund management body for political bigwig Ichiro Ozawa, former leader of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan.

On Wednesday, the special team also searched the local office of Takaki Shirasuka, 44, an LDP member in the Lower House. Shirasuka, elected from a constituency in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, joined Akimoto in visiting 500.com's headquarters in December 2017.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press