Japanese House of Representatives member Tsukasa Akimoto is set to be served with a fresh arrest warrant by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors’ Investigation Division as part of its ongoing investigation into the IR bribery scandal.
The warrant relates to Akimoto’s relationship with Chinese online gaming company 500.com, which according to local media reports had recently determined to pursue an IR bid in either Hokkaido or Okinawa. The politician, who is is alleged to have toured the headquarters of 500.com in 2017, is suspected of issuing a fictitious receipt for travel expenses which the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office believe believes were paid by the Chinese company.
The special investigation department has determined that JPY 3 million was paid to Akimoto via around JPY 1 million in travel expenses and JPY 2 million in lecture fees. It was decided to re-arrest Akimoto on charges of bribery today, his last day of detention following his original arrest on 25 December.
According to stakeholders, Akimoto visited the 500.com headquarters in Shenzhen, China in December 2017 to meet with their CEOs. There were also trips to Macau’s casino facilities with the help of company staff.
Akimoto also gave a keynote speech at a symposium in Naha City in August 2017 and it is known that JPY 2 million was paid to him for those services via a consultancy company established in Tokyo by the former policy secretary.
The fact that Akimoto had just been appointed Deputy Minister of the Cabinet Office in charge of IR and Deputy Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism resulted in 500.com increasing the lecture fee from the original JPY 500,000, with the special investigation department suspecting the fee may in fact have been a bribe.