At least three more firms affiliated with the Mitsubishi group are suspected of sending funds to a bank account linked to two “sokaiya” corporate extortionists arrested earlier this week over illegal payoffs from Mitsubishi Motors Corp., police sources said Oct. 24.The three firms are Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Mitsubishi Estate Co. and Kirin Brewery Co., the sources said. Each is suspected of sending up to several million yen into the account.The two arrested racketeers have been named as Terubo Tei, 53, also known as Teiji Nakamoto, and Kaoru Hamada, 40. Investigators are trying to determine whether the payments by Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi Estate amount to illegal payoffs, which are banned under the Commercial Code, the sources said.Kirin Brewery stopped such cash transfers in 1993, when executives of the firm were arrested in connection with payoffs to other racketeers, according to the sources. The three-year statute of limitations under the Commercial Code has expired on those payments by Kirin.Other key firms in the Mitsubishi group, including the major trading house Mitsubishi Corp. and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, have denied giving any payoffs to the two racketeers. But some other group firms, responding to a questionnaire by Kyodo News, admitted the sokaiya own between 1,000 and 3,000 of their shares.On Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, the Metropolitan Police Department arrested four Mitsubishi Motors executives — Yasuo Shimizu, 59, director and assistant to a vice president; Atsushi Ueba, 56, assistant managing director in charge of general affairs; Yuichi Ueki, 43, chief of the carmaker’s general affairs group; and Shoichi Shima, 38, a senior member of the group. Shimizu also serves as president of the Urawa Reds J. League soccer team, whose main sponsor is Mitsubishi Motors.Mitsubishi Motors paid Tei and Hamada through the bank account of a Tokyo-based company run by Tei’s wife, under the false pretext of paying for use of that firm’s seaside inn in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, the police sources alleged, adding that more than a dozen other firms are suspected of regularly paying into the account. Media reports have alleged that several firms in the Mitsubishi group, including Mitsubishi Motors, were among them.
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