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The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau has filed a criminal complaint of tax evasion against a well-known television producer and his brother, suspecting them of concealing some 350 million yen in income, sources familiar with the case said Thursday.

The tax authorities lodged the complaint against Hisaya Shiraiwa, 47, a former producer for Yomiuri Telecasting Corp. in Osaka, with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office.

A complaint has also been filed against Naoya Shiraiwa, the producer’s younger brother and his Tokyo personnel placement company.

The tax authorities believe the older Shiraiwa failed to declare 230 million yen in income he received as kickbacks from three television program production firms, according to the sources, adding that his brother and the placement company concealed the revenue by padding expenses.

The tax authorities believe the Shiraiwas evaded a total of 100 million yen in income and corporate tax, with the huge sums in the older Shiraiwa’s bank account coming from TV program contractors, not his formal salary, the sources said.

Shiraiwa said the money had been kept in his account with promises to return it later, but sources noted that tax officials found he had neither written receipts nor returned the money to the depositors.

Shiraiwa joined Yomiuri Telecasting in 1979 but quit after the tax authorities began investigating his case earlier this year.

He built a reputation as a producer of popular late-night shows and received a prize from the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan for “EX Television,” a talk-variety show.

Shiraiwa’s case comes as tax authorities are clamping down on a string of show-business companies for tax evasion. The founder and former president of Rising Production Co., now called Freegate Promotion Co., was recently indicted on charges of evading more than 1 billion yen in tax.

“The latest case may have partly arisen out of the Rising Production case, which revealed the slipshod accounting and lending practice that have become customary in show business,” a regional taxation bureau source said.

The sources said Shiraiwa’s case is indicative of the cozy relationships among TV producers and contractors. Producers like Shiraiwa, whose power rests on his show’s high ratings, receive kickbacks from contractors in need of work, according to the sources.

According to a TV company source, the producer of a typical popular program spends 20 million yen to 30 million yen for a weekly variety show and receives many gifts from content contractors and talent agencies.

“It has become the norm for a producer to throw the whole project at a contractor and receive a kickback in return,” an industry source said.

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