Four more collared over Nishimatsu fraud

Kyodo News

Prosecutors arrested four people Wednesday in connection with a case involving a former Nishimatsu Construction Co. official who allegedly embezzled about ¥100 million.

Keiji Fujimaki, a 68-year-old former vice president of Nishimatsu Construction, is among the four, investigative sources said.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office is apparently digging deeply into the case, now suspected to have been a systematic scheme of the Tokyo-based general contractor after the former Nishimatsu Construction official, Kazuhiko Takahara, 63, said his conduct was based on directions from top-level company officials, investigative sources said earlier.

Takahara, a deputy head of Nishimatsu’s overseas business department, was earlier indicted on embezzlement charges.

A former Nishimatsu vice president in charge of overseas operations has admitted to prosecutors that he issued directions to Takahara in connection with the case, according to the investigative sources.

Takahara allegedly brought home an approximate total of ¥100 million from China on roughly 10 trips between 2005 and 2007 without notifying customs authorities, conduct that violates the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law.

Separately, Takahara has confessed to giving more than ¥400 million in bribes to Thai government officials in conjunction with a tunnel project Bangkok city authorities ordered in 2003 and undertaken by a consortium formed by Nishimatsu and a Thai general contractor.