The Tokyo District Court sentenced oil dealer Junichi Izui to two years in prison Tuesday for tax evasion and bribery, and acquitted him on a fraud charge over a series of oil deals involving Mitsui Mining Co. and other firms.Presiding Judge Kohei Ikeda also levied 80 million yen in fines against the 61-year-old president of Izui Sekiyu Shokai, an Osaka-based oil wholesaler that once boasted connections with a wide range of powerful people — including Diet members, elite bureaucrats and famous athletes.Prosecutors had demanded seven years in prison and 120 million yen in fines against Izui, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion but denied guilt on the other two charges.The court convicted Izui of giving 2.2 million yen in bribes to Tsuneharu Hattori, former president of the semigovernmental Kansai International Airport Co. on four occasions between 1994 and 1996.Izui gave Hattori the bribes to thank him for helping a firm run by his acquaintance win the airport’s sanitary work contract, and for considering to buy garbage bags being developed by a firm affiliated with the defendant, the court said, calling his act “premeditated and malicious.”The court also said the bribery ruined public confidence in the airport company’s business practices and noted its social implications are serious.In September, Hattori, 65, a former vice transport minister, received an 18-month suspended prison sentence for accepting the bribes from Izui. The court also said that Izui evaded about 331 million yen in taxes from January 1992 to December 1994, adding that his intention was malicious.”His motive was to repay his enormous debts that arose from his purchase of stocks and golf club memberships, as well as to pay for expenses incurred by entertaining politicians and athletes,” the court said. “There is no room for leniency.”But the court ruled against the prosecution’s contention that Izui swindled 2.39 billion yen from Mitsui Mining through a series of oil transactions, saying there is not enough evidence to prove he intended to commit fraud.Izui, known for his broad political connections, said in his news conference in September last year and in Diet testimony last November that he provided at least 278 million yen in donations to six leading lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party.
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