Attorneys’ fees for former executives of the Japan Dental Association who have been indicted on bribery charges were paid by its affiliated political organization, a senior association official said Saturday.

“The former chairman paid 29 million yen for his lawyers before his arrest, and I have decided to pay the remaining 8 million yen for four others (from the affiliate’s coffers),” said Takazumi Ido, the association’s current chairman, regarding the expenses for former Chairman Sadao Usuda, 73, and four other former executives.

The move has drawn criticism, with a criminal lawyer saying, “It may be considered a breach of trust for an organization to shoulder attorneys’ fees for the crimes of individuals.”