Prosecutors Thursday demanded Junichi Izui, 61, an Osaka-based oil dealer accused of defrauding Mitsui Mining Co. of some 2.4 billion yen and other charges, be sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 120 million yen.
Izui is standing trial before the Tokyo District Court on charges of fraud, tax evasion and bribery. He has pleaded guilty to tax evasion but maintained his innocence to the other charges.
Until his arrest in November 1996, Izui is believed to have wined and dined high-ranking politicians and elite bureaucrats. Last November, he testified before the Diet’s Budget Committee on his contributions to numerous leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party.
In demanding the sentence, prosecutors called Izui’s alleged bribing of a former Kansai International Airport official “extremely malicious,” adding that his act “significantly shook public confidence in the airport’s projects.”
The fraud charge involves 2.39 billion yen Izui received from Mitsui Mining between May and August 1995 through an oil buyback scheme involving several companies, including Mitsui and Mitsubishi Oil Co. Izui has denied his guilt, claiming he had intended to repay the funds.
In earlier court testimony, he had maintained that he was counting on a possible payment from Mitsui for using his connections with government bureaucrats to help close down the Mitsui-Miike Mine in northern Kyushu.
He expected his reward for the work, which did not materialize, to be at least 1 billion yen, he had testified. He had also argued that he was expecting to earn a commission by brokering development projects in Malaysia.
But in Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors dismissed Izui’s argument as groundless, saying he had neither the intention nor the ability to pay back the money.
On the defense’s argument that Mitsui provided funds in its own interest, the prosecution said Mitsui executives were not adequately informed about Izui’s finances at the time to judge whether he would be able to return the funds.
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