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A former vice president of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank was sentenced Friday to a suspended eight-month prison term for violating the Commercial Code by extending illegal loans to “sokaiya” corporate extortionist Ryuichi Koike.

The Tokyo District Court found Tsuneo Uchida, 62, guilty of conspiring with other former DKB executives to pay off Koike, 55, to buy his silence at DKB shareholders’ meetings.

Uchida was convicted of providing Koike with about 8.8 billion yen in loans on 39 occasions from July 1994 to March 1996 to buy his silence at the bank’s annual shareholders’ meetings in 1995 and 1996. The loans were extended without securing enough collateral, the court said.

Judge Kiyoshi Kimura said in passing the sentence, which was suspended for four years, that the crime was “malicious,” since the bank’s top leaders, including former Chairman Tadashi Okuda, 67, were also involved.

Uchida pleaded guilty in his first trial hearing in January 1998 but changed his position later in the trial, claiming officials at the bank’s general affairs department never told him the loans were for Koike.

Prosecutors in December demanded an eight-month prison term.

According to the court, the 8.8 billion yen from Uchida was part of some 11.7 billion yen in loans extended to Koike between 1994 and 1996 through a DKB affiliate.

Uchida conspired with other DKB executives to make the loans to Koike through Daiwa Shinyo, a nonbank moneylender affiliated with the bank, the court said.

The loans were paid out to Kojin Building, a firm run by Koike’s younger brother, Yoshinori, the court said.

Although Uchida and other DKB executives knew they would not be able to collect the loans extended to Koike, the bank continued lending money to the racketeer in exchange for his agreement not to disrupt the bank’s shareholders’ meetings, it said.

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