A former vice president of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank denied Wednesday during his first trial hearing that he conspired to provide illegal loans to a “sokaiya” corporate extortionist.”I have never conspired with those who are named in the indictment,” Ichiro Fujita, 59, told the Tokyo District Court, denying some of the charges against him. He said he will discuss other parts of the indictment after listening to the prosecutors’ opening statement.Two other Dai-Ichi officials who went on trial the same day, former Vice President Akira Kanazawa, 62, and former Managing Director Yasuyuki Terasawa, 57, postponed entering a plea until after they listen to the more detailed statements by the prosecution.Prosecutors will read their opening statements at the next session scheduled for early February. The three are suspected of conspiring with other executives of the bank to give sokaiya Ryuichi Koike, 54, illicit loans in violation of the Commercial Code.Sokaiya purchase shares in companies to gain access to shareholders’ meetings. They then solicit payoffs by threatening to disrupt the meetings by making embarrassing revelations. The Commercial Code bans firms from giving financial benefits to racketeers.Eleven former Dai-Ichi Kangyo executives have been indicted on suspicion of conspiring to provide Koike with illegal loans totaling 11.78 billion yen. The loans were allegedly extended on 52 separate occasions from July 1994 through September 1996 to buy Koike’s silence at annual shareholders’ meetings in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Fujita is blamed for 7.35 billion yen of the loans, Kanazawa for 2.32 billion yen and Terasawa for 2.79 billion yen, according to the indictments.

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