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Junichi Izui, an Osaka-based oil dealer convicted of bribery and tax evasion, has told the judges in a civil suit that he had been directly asked by the former chairman of Mitsubishi Oil Co. to serve as a mediator between the firm and Ministry of International Trade and Industry officials to promote the firm’s projects, it was learned Friday.

Izui testified before the Tokyo District Court in detail that Kikuo Yamada, former chairman of Mitsubishi Oil, directly asked him in 1991 or 1992 to approach high-ranking MITI officials in connection with the firm’s projects, including the sale of type-C crude oil to Chubu Electric Power Co., sources said.

Izui, 62, who is appealing his October conviction with a high court, is also fighting a court battle with Mitsubishi, in which the firm is demanding that he pay back billions in yen it extended to him through complicated oil deals.

Mitsubishi has denied that Yamada made such requests to Izui, who boasted rich connections with elite bureaucrats and politicians before his arrest in November 1996. The firm has maintained in court that Izui deceived its officials into believing he had Yamada’s approval in the oil deals and thus swindled money from the firm.

Izui has gone into detail about Yamada’s requests, naming bureaucrats and politicians involved, and has insisted the money he received from Mitsubishi was a reward for his services, the sources said.

It is believed Izui made the latest revelation in an attempt to rebut Mitsubishi’s arguments to the contrary.

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