Japanese Lawmaker Sentenced to four Years in Prison in Casino Bribery Scandal

Japanese Lawmaker Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison in Casino Bribery Scandal

Japanese lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto was sentenced to four years in prison and was fined JPY7.six million over his involvement in a bribery case linked to the country’s effort to construct up to three integrated casino resorts.

Public prosecutors had sought a five-year prison term and JPY7.six million in fines for the disgraced lawmaker, but the Tokyo District Court delivered on Tuesday a slightly lighter sentence.

Mr. Akimoto was found guilty of accepting bribes of JPY7.six million in between September 2017 and February 2018 from a Chinese gambling firm pursuing a license to operate a casino resort in Japan.

The lawmaker, who despite his current sentence remains a member of the Japanese government’s Decrease Home, was initial detained in late 2019 and was released on bail in February 2020 only to be rearrested in the summer season of that year.

He quit the ruling Liberal Democratic Celebration following his original arrest. The huge bribery scandal is the very first in several years to involve an incumbent lawmaker in the country.

Chinese sports lottery operator 500.com was identified as the business that had presented hefty bribes to Mr. Akimoto, asking him to spearhead its bid for one of the three casino licenses up for grabs from the central government. The lawmaker was serving as a Senior Vice Minister in the Cabinet Office and was overseeing Japan’s effort to legalize the operation of integrated casino resorts at the time when he took bribes from 500.com.

He has maintained his innocence since he was 1st arrested nearly two years ago.

Court Finds Akimoto Guilty of Added Wrongdoings

The Tokyo District Court has further identified Mr. Akimoto guilty of supplying income to two former 500.com advisers to give false testimony in relation to his involvement in the bribery scandal among June and July last year.

The lawmaker has denied those accusations as effectively. Presiding Judge Toshihiko Niwa mentioned Tuesday that “statements of those who admitted to providing cash had been fully credible” and “were strongly supported by objective evidence.”

Judge Niwa went on to note that Mr. Akimoto took the initiative in organizing false court testimony and described his actions as “unprecedented obstruction of justice.”

The lawmaker’s legal group appealed the Tuesday ruling. Mr. Akimoto was taken into custody following his sentence, but his lawyers right away requested bail and the court accepted that request. The Decrease Home legislator stated that he would stand in the chamber’s subsequent election in spite of his sentence.

Following the Tuesday District Court ruling, opposition parties demanded Mr. Akimoto’s resignation and criticized the Liberal Democratic Party for lacking discipline and failing to penalize him.

Supply: Lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto to serve 4 years in prison more than casino bribes, Japan Instances, September 7, 2021