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Office of Japan's LDP faction member searched amid funds scandal

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Office of Japan's LDP faction member searched amid funds scandal

Tokyo, Dec 27 (Ajit Weekly News) Japanese prosecutors on Wednesday searched the Tokyo office of a lawmaker belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s largest faction, amid a political fundraising scandal, local media reported.

Yoshitaka Ikeda, a House of Representatives lawmaker, is suspected of having received more than 40 million yen (about $280,000) over five years through 2022, for which the statute of limitations has not expired under the political funds control law, Kyodo News reported, citing sources close to the matter.

The LDP faction, namely Seiwaken, or the Seiwa policy study group previously led by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is alleged to have failed to declare hundreds of millions of yen in fundraising events revenue in political funding reports, possibly pooling secret funds, Xinhua news agency reported.

The prosecutors have already searched the office of the Abe faction and questioned its key members, including former Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, on a voluntary basis, the report said.

The prosecutors are working to build a case against the faction’s accountant, who admitted under voluntary questioning to not reporting the income in political funds statements when questioned, it added.

Lawmakers could face criminal charges if they are suspected of having colluded with the accountant, Kyodo News said.

The political funds scandal engulfing Japan’s main ruling party emerged following a criminal complaint alleging five LDP factions underreported their revenue from political fundraising parties, from which the extra income may have been returned to some of their lawmakers as kickbacks.

Over five years through 2022, the slush fund of the Abe faction allegedly ballooned to around 500 million yen (about $3,500,000), and dozens of its members are suspected of failing to report income and expenditures concerning the accumulated money, according to media reports.

–Ajit Weekly News

int/khz


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