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OSAKA — The Osaka District Court on August 29 handed down suspended jail terms ranging from three to nine months to four former executives of Takashimaya Co.

The court convicted the four, including Hiroshi Kusumi, former managing director of the major department store company, and Kiyoshi Edasawa, former director of its general affairs department, for giving 160 million yen to sokaiya racketeer Isao Nishiura in violation of the Commercial Law. The defendants made the payoff to prevent the sokaiya from disrupting the company’s general shareholders’ meetings in 1994 and 1995, the court was told.

The defendants’ actions profited the racketeer and damaged the function of the shareholders’ meetings, presiding Judge Yoshimichi Takikawa said. The company reached a compromise last April with a plaintiff who represented shareholders in filing a lawsuit against former and current company executives. The company also started this year opening its shareholders’ meetings to the media.

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