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OSAKA — The Osaka District Court on Monday sentenced Yoshihiro Mita, former president of the failed copier manufacturer Mita Industrial Co., to two years and eight months in prison for violating the Commercial Code in an earnings window-dressing case.

Mita, 60, was charged with aggravated breach of trust, illegally paying dividends and giving bribes.

According to the court, Mita approved the payment of roughly 140 million yen in executive bonuses for the five years up to 1997 even though the firm was operating in the red.

In addition, he collaborated with a former auditor to illegally pay out about 1.13 billion yen in dividends during the same period.

Mita paid the former auditor, Kunihiro Murai, roughly 30 million yen in bribes so he would give his stamp of approval to the firm’s earnings reports between 1994 and 1998.

Murai, 59, is currently appealing an 18-month prison term.

The copier maker, with the aid of Kyoto-based ceramics firm Kyocera Corp., is restructuring under court protection after failing in August 1998.

Judge Masayuki Kawaai said the company’s former president bears grave liability for his firm’s failure by continuing to systematically plot the window-dressing over a period of years just to maintain his style of living and avoid the company’s collapse.

Mita has not requested bail to place priority on the repayment of the firm’s debts and has remained in detention since his arrest in October 1998.

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