Japanese House of Representatives member Tsukasa Akimoto pleaded innocent to all charges at a 29 March hearing for bribery and paying off a witness.
The now 49-year old Congressman served as State Minister of the Cabinet Office at the time the bribery allegedly took place. He is accused of receiving a bribe worth around JPY7.6 million (US$70,000) from Chinese online games company 500.com and later attempting to bribe those involved by instigating false testimony.
500.com had at the time been planning to bid for an IR license in either Hokkaido or Okinawa, although the company did not pursue its bid and both locations have since withdrawn from Japan’s IR race.
At his first trial at the Tokyo District Court on 29 March Akimoto maintained his innocence claiming, “I never actually met anyone related to the Chinese company and I didn’t accept any cash.
“I am innocent on all counts.”
Four alleged accomplices in the recent witness bribery case all pleaded guilty to the charges and have already been sentenced.