Ex-lawmaker Matsuki tied to dubious funds

JIJI

A corporate group headed by the father of former House of Representatives lawmaker Kenko Matsuki made donations to Matsuki’s political organizations without correctly identifying itself, it has been learned.

The Sapporo Regional Taxation Bureau has found that the Sapporo-based Hokkaido Tsushinsha group had its board members return some of their executive remuneration and donated the money to Matsuki’s political organizations under the names of business partners and, by that means, concealed some ¥2 billion in taxable income, sources said Sunday.

The suspicious donations, under the names of some 20 individuals, are believed to have totaled about ¥100 million over a six-year period until 2011.

The practice may have violated the Public Offices Election Law, which bans political donations under false names.

Matsuki’s father, responding to an inquiry, denied that the group made shady donations. But he agreed to file an amended return, although he said he disagreed with the findings of the tax authorities.

According to the sources, Hokkaido Tsushinsha’s board members paid back part of their executive remuneration to the group. Matsuki’s father managed the returned money in cash and in his bank accounts, and donated it to Matsuki’s political organizations under the names of individuals, including senior officials of companies with business ties with the group, the sources said.

The tax bureau determined that the group took back about ¥200 million. It concluded the group concealed taxable income by booking the returned money as deductible expense and ordered it to pay about ¥50 million in back taxes, including a penalty, according to the sources.

Some of the individuals who allowed their names to be used for the questionable donations abused the system that allows contributions to political groups to be deducted from income taxes, the sources said.

The officials improperly received about ¥20 million in tax refunds by using the receipts issued by Matsuki’s political organizations, but they have apparently returned the refunds.

Matsuki claimed he does not know the details of how his father was managing political donations. He said he bears final responsibility for any irregularities, although he does not think something deceitful was going on.

Matsuki, 54, was first elected to the Lower House on the ticket of the Democratic Party of Japan via the proportional representation bloc of the 2003 election. He served as parliamentary secretary for agriculture, forestry and fisheries in 2010.

He ran in the 2012 Lower House election on the New Party Daichi ticket but failed to win a seat.