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Guilty verdict for two ex-Ozawa aides to stand

Kyodo

Two of three former aides to veteran political don Ichiro Ozawa will not appeal their guilty verdicts, upheld by the Tokyo High Court earlier this month, for falsifying the political funds reports of Ozawa’s fund management body, sources said Wednesday.

The move means the guilty verdicts for Takanori Okubo, 51, and Mitsutomo Ikeda, 35, handed down initially by the Tokyo District Court in September 2011 and upheld by the high court on March 13, will stand.

The other former aide, Lower House member Tomohiro Ishikawa, 39, who was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for three years, immediately appealed the high court ruling.

Okubo, who was given a suspended three-year prison term, and Ikeda, who got a suspended one-year sentence, apparently determined it would be difficult to overturn the ruling in the Supreme Court, the sources said.

Their guilty verdicts will be finalized after midnight Wednesday, the deadline for filing an appeal against the high court decision.

The high court had turned down an appeal against the lower court ruling filed by the three defendants, who had pleaded not guilty and argued that they did not intend to falsify the reports.

According to the court, the three failed to register a ¥400 million loan from Ozawa to his fund management body, Rikuzankai, in 2004, and when returning the same amount to him in 2007. Rikuzankai purchased land in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward in October 2004.

Okubo also falsified reports for donations totaling ¥35 million received from general contractor Nishimatsu Construction Co., the court said.

Ozawa, 70, who is now leader of the small opposition force People’s Life Party, was acquitted last November in the case.