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The former chief of Seibu department store’s medical equipment department was acquitted of complicity Thursday in a fraud case in which six people were accused of bilking a leasing company out of about 31.1 billion yen by fabricating medical equipment deals.

The Tokyo District Court ruled that it is doubtful Akio Fukuda, 56, chief of the department, was given detailed reports about each of the fabricated equipment deals from his subordinates. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term for the defendant.

The five other defendants in the case were convicted, and Fukuda’s acquittal was a blow to prosecutors. The five were convicted of fabricating medical equipment deals in a bid to obtain cash and promissory notes.

The court said Fukuda met Akira Inoue, 61, the former president of a medical equipment company who was one of the five defendants, in December 1990 and February 1991 and accepted a total of 15 million yen.

However, the court said Fukuda did not approve bills from the fraudulent equipment deals and it is doubtful he collaborated with defendant Takeo Fukui, 54, chief of the department store’s medical equipment department and sales section chief, and the others charged.

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