Tokyo Prosecutors to Question Akimoto over Witness Tampering

Society Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo prosecutors plan to question indicted lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto to look into his suspected involvement in alleged witness tampering in a high-profile bribery scandal linked to a casino-featuring integrated resort, it was learned on Thursday.

The special investigation team of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office arrested corporate executive Akihito Awaji, 54, and two other men earlier this month for allegedly trying to persuade suspected bribers linked to Chinese company 500.com Ltd. to commit perjury for money in favor of Akimoto, 48, in his trial.

The suspected bribers have been indicted for giving cash to Akimoto to help the Chinese firm’s bid to run a casino-featuring integrated resort in Japan. The lawmaker was indicted for taking bribes and is now out on bail.

The prosecutors want to confirm whether Akimoto was involved in the three men’s attempt to have the suspected bribers commit perjury, with an eye to charging the lawmaker for alleged witness tampering in violation of the organized crimes punishment law.

Akimoto is acquainted with Awaji, and the two met in February after Akimoto was released on bail, according to sources familiar with the matter.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press