Police arrested a Foreign Ministry official and two employees of the Hotel New Otani on Thursday on suspicion of defrauding the government of some 400 million yen by padding hotel bills for international meetings.

Arrested were Akio Asakawa, 56, an assistant director of the ministry’s European Affairs Bureau; Shozo Saito, 51, director of sales of the Tokyo-based hotel; and another employee of the hotel. They are suspected of carrying out the fraud during meetings of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in 1995, police said. The Foreign Ministry has been plagued by a series of scandals including fraud, embezzlement and bill-padding by diplomats. Asakawa is the fourth official to be arrested this year.

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