Japanese lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto was sentenced to four years in prison and a fine of 7.6 million yen ($69,000) for taking bribes and witnessing tampering on a casino development project.
Akimoto, a former member of the ruling LDP, was convicted of accepting a bribe worth 7.6 million yen between September 2017 and February 2018. Rep. Lee was also accused of offering money to two former advisors of the Chinese company 500.com in exchange for false promises. Court testimony in his favor.
Although it is rare for lawmakers to be sentenced to prison without probation, Akimoto’s actions have been described as “unprecedented obstruction of justice”.
Akimoto denied the bribery, claiming that former advisors to the Chinese company wanted to tell the truth in court.
Akimoto’s plea of innocence was dismissed by Judge Niwa Toshihiko, who noted: “The statements of those who admitted to providing the money are wholly credible, supported by strong objective evidence.”
Akimoto’s former public servant Akihiro Toyoshima (who also pleaded not guilty) was sentenced to two years in prison for bribery.
In a bribery case, four more were convicted of giving money to Akimoto and another four were convicted of collaborating with him in a witness falsification case.
During his tenure as Senior Vice Minister of the Cabinet (from September 2017 for about a year), Akimoto was tasked with overseeing a government program to legalize casino operations in a resort complex with hotels and meeting facilities.