Atsuo Miki, the former president of Yamaichi Securities Co. held responsible for its demise, made his first court appearance April 24 and pleaded guilty to conspiring to make illegal payoffs totaling 423 million yen to “sokaiya” corporate extortionist Ryuichi Koike and a major leasing company.

He has been indicted on a separate charge involving the concealing of huge losses, but yet to be arraigned for it.

Miki, 62, pleaded guilty before the Tokyo District Court to violating the Commercial Code and the Securities and Exchange Law. “I wholeheartedly understand my responsibility for triggering an incident like this while I was president of Yamaichi,” Miki told the court, reading from a prepared statement. “I admit all of the charges.”

Former Yamaichi Vice President Ryuji Shirai, 62, also appearing in court for the first time, likewise entered a guilty plea. The session marked the opening of the third trial over the Yamaichi payoff scandal.

Eight former executives have been indicted in connection with the defunct firm’s alleged 107 million yen in illegal payoffs to Koike and 316 million yen to Tokyo-based Showa Leasing Co.

Miki’s lawyer, however, said he has “serious doubts” that his client conspired to make payoffs to Showa Leasing, adding he will withhold a plea as a lawyer. The attorney also hinted he will dispute the prosecution’s argument on the amount of payoffs to Koike.

Miki and Shirai are suspected of conspiring to pay off Koike on 32 separate occasions between December 1994 and January 1995 to buy his silence at the brokerage’s June 1995 shareholders’ meeting.

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