Prosecutors Question 5 Japan Lawmakers over Casino Scandal

Society

Tokyo, Jan. 3 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo prosecutors have questioned five Japanese lawmakers on a voluntary basis in relation to a casino resort corruption case involving a Chinese firm that has led to the arrest of Tsukasa Akimoto, a member of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, informed sources said Friday.

The questioning took place after people linked to the Chinese firm, 500.com, who have been arrested for bribing Akimoto, told the special team of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office that they have provided cash to the five lawmakers as well.

One or more of the five lawmakers admitted being questioned by the prosecutor team. The team is investigating the Chinese firm's intention behind the suspected cash gift and details of how the money was given to the five Diet members, the sources said.

The special team arrested Akimoto, 48, former Cabinet Office state minister in charge of the Japanese government's project to launch casino-featuring integrated resorts, on Dec. 25 for allegedly accepting 3.7 million yen in bribes, including 3 million yen in cash, from Shenzhen-based 500.com, which was planning to open an IR in the village of Rusutsu in the northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido.

Three 500.com-linked people, including Masahiko Konno, 48, and Katsunori Nakazato, 47, were arrested the same day on suspicion of offering the bribes to Akimoto.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press