Sachiyo Nomura, the high-profile wife of ex-Hanshin Tigers manager Katsuya Nomura, was sentenced Wednesday to a suspended two-year prison term and fined 21 million yen for evading 213 million yen in taxes between 1997 and 2000.
The Tokyo District Court found the 70-year-old Nomura, a former TV celebrity, guilty of concealing 568 million yen in personal income she and her husband had earned, along with revenues from two firms she owns, in order to avoid income and corporate taxes.
The two companies owned by Nomura — registered as an advertising firm and importer of foreign athletic goods — were also ordered to pay a total of 32 million yen for corporate tax evasion.
In handing down the sentence, presiding Judge Kohei Ikeda said Nomura bears a grave criminal responsibility. The judge called her motives selfish and said that when tax authorities began looking into her case, she tried to cover up her acts by telling her son to lie to investigators.
During the trial, Nomura said she wanted to save money for the couple’s later years.
Judge Ikeda said he suspended Nomura’s sentence for four years because she expressed regret during the trial and has already paid the taxes in question.
Appearing before the court in a black sweater and pants, Nomura, who pleaded guilty during the earlier trial proceedings, bowed her head when the judge finished reading the sentence.
Prosecutors sought a two-year prison term and a 26 million yen fine for Nomura, as well as a 39 million yen fine for her two companies.
According to the court, Nomura concealed 381 million yen of the firms’ income for three years through fiscal 1999, thereby evading about 128 million yen in taxes.
She also concealed 140 million yen in personal income over the same period, failing to pay 64 million yen in income tax, it said.
She hid the money by padding deductible expenses with false reports of salaries for nonexistent board members for the firms, for example, according to the court.
She also hid 45 million yen of her husband’s income, evading 21 million yen in taxes, it said.
Nomura became publicly known first as the wife of one of Japan’s leading baseball managers and later as a popular figure with a frank and acerbic manner. She appeared in a number of TV talk and variety shows in the late 1990s.
On the day of Nomura’s arrest in December, Katsuya Nomura resigned as manager of the Hanshin Tigers to take moral responsibility for the scandal, although he was not criminally charged in the case.
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