Tadao Koseki, the former president of scandal-tainted mutual aid foundation KSD, pleaded guilty Friday of bribing two former Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers to use their political influence to push the organization’s plan to build a university.
In his first bribery trial hearing before the Tokyo District Court, the 80-year-old KSD founder admitted paying 22.88 million yen to Masakuni Murakami, a former labor minister and one-time LDP heavyweight, and 11.66 million yen to Takao Koyama, a former parliamentary vice labor minister, between 1996 and 2000.
Koseki apologized before the court for his role in the scandal, which rocked the political community. He denied, however, that his actions were prompted by personal interest.
In the same trial, Katsuhiko Nakamura, 58, former secretary general of Hoseiren, a KSD-affiliated organization working in the political sphere, partially owned up to charges of conspiring with Koseki over the bribery.
Prosecutors alleged that Koseki, in a bid to secure government approval for construction of the Institute of Technologists, asked Murakami in 1996 to support KSD’s plan to establish the organ in Diet question-and-answer sessions.
The institute, which opened in April in Saitama Prefecture, was Koseki’s brainchild.
Prosecutors said Koseki paid the rent on Murakami’s office between 1996 and 1998 — worth about 22.88 million yen — to reward the lawmaker for raising the issue during a Diet session in 1996.
In 1998, Koseki asked Koyama, then parliamentary vice labor minister, to push the ministry to approve subsidies for establishment of the institute, prosecutors said.
As reward for Koyama’s successful effort, Koseki provided him 11.66 million yen by paying the wages of the lawmaker’s secretaries between 1999 and 2000, prosecutors said.
While prosecutors alleged that Nakamura conspired with Koseki in both bribery schemes, Nakamura only admitted partial involvement in bribing Koyama and said he did not ask any favor from Murakami.
Koseki is also believed to have paid 50 million yen to Murakami and 20 million yen to Koyama as payment for other activities that benefited KSD, but prosecutors did not file charges because the statute of limitations on these offenses has expired.
In a separate trial in May at the same court, Koseki pleaded guilty to embezzling 80.95 million yen from KSD and to breach of trust for dubious financial transactions that caused the organization to incur loses of 168 million yen.
During his first bribery trial hearing Wednesday, Koyama admitted receiving the money but insisted it was not payment for specific favors he granted to KSD.
Murakami’s trial will proceed Monday. He is also expected to admit receiving the money and to deny it was payment for specific political favors.
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