The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court-imposed three-year prison term and 140 million yen fine against former Sendai Mayor Toru Ishii for accepting bribes from seven major construction companies.
The high court dismissed an appeal from the 74-year-old Ishii against a January 1997 Tokyo District Court ruling.
“(Ishii) lost his pride as a person elected by the citizens and he sullied the mayor’s office even though he had been earning a large salary of 23.6 million yen a year,” Judge Toshio Takaki said.
Sentencing him to a three-year term without suspension was not overly harsh, the judge said, “even considering his contributions to the city’s development and his old age.”
According to the district court, Ishii received 140 million yen in bribes in 1992 from the contractors in connection with public works projects in Sendai. The companies were Hazama Corp., Shimizu Corp., Nishimatsu Construction Co., Mitsui Construction Co., Taisei Corp., Kajima Corp. and Obayashi Corp.
Ishii pleaded not guilty, claiming he accepted the money as contributions to his election campaign. He further insisted the payments did not influence him in awarding public works contracts.
The high court, however, determined the money constituted bribes. Ishii was “fully aware of the nature of the payments when he took them,” the court said.
Twelve defendants from the contractors received suspended sentences in the case.
Ishii, a former civil servant of the Home Affairs Ministry, was arrested in June 1993.
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