Katsutoshi Matsuo, the fired Foreign Ministry logistics chief charged with swindling discretionary funds from the government, will have his first Tokyo District Court hearing on July 31, court officials said.

Matsuo, 55, was charged March 30 with defrauding the government out of 42 million yen. He was then indicted April 25 for allegedly swindling the government out of 119 million yen and again on May 29 for swindling a further 106 million yen, bringing the total to 267 million yen, according to the indictments.

According to the first indictment, Matsuo swindled 42 million yen by padding expenses such as hotel bills for three trips abroad involving two former prime ministers, Ryutaro Hashimoto and the late Keizo Obuchi. He allegedly ran this scam from 1997 through 1999 by submitting false receipts to the secretariat to receive reimbursement for money never spent.

The second indictment accuses him of swindling 119 million yen by padding accommodation expenses, again including hotel bills, for three trips made by Hashimoto to Indonesia in March 1998, a trip to Russia by Obuchi in November of the same year and Obuchi’s tour of France, Italy and Germany in January 1999.

Matsuo is accused of swindling a further 106 million yen by padding accommodation expenses for Hashimoto’s London visit in April 1998, his visit to Birmingham, England, the following month, and Obuchi’s trip to South Korea in March 1999, according to the third indictment.

On June 1, Matsuo was served a fourth arrest warrant for allegedly swindling more confidential funds, again ostensibly to cover prime-ministerial expenses incurred on overseas trips.

In the latest arrest, the Metropolitan Police Department alleged that Matsuo swindled 211 million yen in confidential funds from the Cabinet secretariat.

He claimed the funds were for four prime-ministerial overseas trips between September 1998 and June 1999, according to police.

With the latest warrant, the total amount of funds allegedly swindled by Matsuo comes to 479 million yen. However, Matsuo, first arrested March 10, has not been indicted for the fourth warrant.

Police believe Matsuo diverted some of the funds for personal use, including the purchase of racehorses, golf course memberships and a luxury condominium, according to investigative sources.

Secret funds are meant to cover classified government activities such as information-gathering. Such funds are allocated to the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet secretariat and several other government organs.

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