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A disgraced Japan Highway Public Corp. executive accused of taking 7.2 million yen in bribes from seven financial institutions admitted Tuesday that he was wined and dined by the firms but denied giving them any favors in return.

Takehiko Isaka, 55, former board director in charge of accounting at the highway corporation, is suspected of receiving bribes in the form of wining and dining and golf outings from Nomura Securities Co., Nikko Securities Co., Daiwa Securities Co., Fuji Bank, Sakura Bank, the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan and the Industrial Bank of Japan.

“I admit the facts in the indictment,” Isaka said when he read aloud a statement in his first trial hearing before the Tokyo District Court. “But I have never given preferential treatment to them after being entertained.”

Isaka, who served as chief of the Finance Ministry’s Mint Bureau before joining the highway corporation, said he had become accustomed to the practice of being wined and dined to build personal relations and to exchange information during his time with the ministry and the highway corporation.

He claimed he had become so used to the treatment that it was at the expense of “sound social common sense.”

“I deeply regret that now,” he said. His lawyers said they hope the court will thoroughly examine whether the wining and dining constituted bribery.

According to prosecutors, between 1994 and 1997 Isaka received bribes in such forms as golf outings, gift coupons and entertainment at restaurants in Tokyo, Frankfurt, Germany and Geneva.

He was allegedly wined and dined by Nomura on 41 occasions to the tune of 2.57 million yen, by Nikko on nine occasions worth 540,000 yen, by Daiwa on eight occasions worth 770,000 yen, by Fuji on 11 occasions worth 580,000 yen and by Sakura on 15 occasions worth 620,000 yen.

He was also entertained by LTCB on eight occasions to the tune of 550,000 yen and by IBJ on 21 occasions worth 1.6 million yen, they said.

In return, Isaka favored these financial institutions in the selection of a lead manager for bonds issued by Japan Highway, prosecutors said.

Isaka was fired after his arrest in January.

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