Izui pleads guilty to tax evasion

Osaka-based oil dealer Junichi Izui pleaded guilty April 24 to committing massive tax evasion between 1992 and 1994.

Asked by Judge Fumio Yasuhiro of the Tokyo District Court about the indictment, Izui said, “It is correct.” Wearing a dark blue suit, he appeared pale and thinner than at the time of his arrest in November.

Izui, 60, owner of the oil wholesale company Izui Sekiyu Shokai, has also been charged with bribery and fraud. The court will start deliberating on those charges during the next hearing, scheduled for May 26.

Izui is suspected of evading about 331 million yen in taxes from January 1992 to December 1994 by failing to report about 665 million yen in income. He also allegedly received around 6.4 billion yen in brokerage fees from Mitsui Mining Co., Mitsubishi Oil Co. and other companies from 1992 to 1995 through dubious oil transactions.

The deals involved the resale of surplus oil processed by refiners beyond their quotas. Mitsubishi Oil is believed to have set unusually fat margins on these deals to funnel huge sums of money to Izui.

Izui, who set up Izui Sekiyu Shokai in 1977, accumulated debts by investing in stocks and buying golf memberships, prosecutors said. The need to pay off the debts and entertainment expenses motivated him to evade taxes, they alleged.

In October, he filed a revised tax return for the 1992-1994 period. But more than 90 percent of the taxes he owes is still unpaid, prosecutors said.