Tax authorities have filed charges against a Yomiuri Shimbun sales agent who allegedly evaded 78 million yen in income tax, sources close to the case said Tuesday.

The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau alleged that Tsunenori Shirai, a major sales agent for the newspaper, avoided paying taxes by concealing income of 170 million yen over a three-year period ending in 1999, the sources said.

Shirai, the owner of the paper’s sales and marketing outlet in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, is suspected of having violated the Income Tax Law by altering the outlet’s income through padded personnel costs and business expenditures, they said.

He is also suspected of failing to declare earnings following the sales of two other outlets he owned in Hokkaido.

Shirai has filed revised tax returns with authorities, according to the sources.

Industry sources say Shirai’s outlet handles the distribution of over 10,000 copies of the paper to homes and offices in the area and garners 300 million yen in annual income from folded advertisements included in each copy.

A Yomiuri Shimbun spokesman said the company regrets the incident and will take measures to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents.

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