Saturday, October 31, 2020

Former advisers to online gambling firm plead guilty to bribing Japanese lawmaker Akimoto

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Two former advisers to Chinese company 500.com Ltd. pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of bribing House of Representatives lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto over a casino-featuring integrated resort project.

In the first hearing of their trial at Tokyo District Court, Masahiko Konno and Katsunori Nakazato, both 48, admitted to charges of bribing the 48-year-old Lower House member to help their company’s bid to run an IR in Japan.

Akimoto has been indicted on charges of receiving bribes over the resort project and was also arrested on suspicion of asking Konno to commit perjury in favor of the lawmaker in relation to the scandal, in violation of a law against organized crime.

In addition, he is suspected of playing a role in asking Nakazato to give false testimony.

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According to the indictment and other sources, Konno and Nakazato visited Akimoto’s office in Tokyo on Sept. 28, 2017, when the Lower House was dissolved for a snap election, and gave Akimoto ¥3 million.

They are also believed to have offered bribes worth about ¥7.6 million in total to Akimoto by having the Chinese company cover the costs of Akimoto’s trip to Macau to visit casino facilities there and of his family’s trip to the village of Rusutsu in Hokkaido.

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