Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Ryotaro Tanose denied Wednesday he pocketed some 10 million yen of the government-paid salary allocated to his secretary after the aide had quit his job.
A fund management body of the lawmaker also claimed the aide donated 1.5 million yen to the group.
According to a senior member of the LDP faction to which Tanose belongs, the Lower House member elected from Nara Prefecture told him the secretary was in fact working for his office during the period at issue.
Tanose is a member of the faction led by LDP Secretary General Taku Yamasaki.
According to media reports earlier this week, Tanose falsely registered the aide, whose name was not revealed, as his policy secretary between 1996 and 1997, even though the aide quit when the Lower House was dissolved in September 1996.
Tanose reportedly pocketed about 10 million yen in government-paid salary allocated to the aide during this period.
Tanose, who is in his third term in the Lower House, reportedly explained to the Yamasaki faction member that the aide continued to come to his office, albeit for only one to three days a week due to illness, throughout the period.
Producing relevant documents, Tanose claimed the salary payments from the Lower House secretariat were fully paid into the individual bank account held by the former secretary, adding that the aide reported these payments as income to the tax authorities, according to the faction member.
The former secretary started working for Tanose’s Tokyo office when the lawmaker was first elected in 1993, according to Tanose’s office.
An official political fund report submitted by Tanose’s fund-management body shows that the former secretary donated 1.5 million yen to the body in 1997.
A number of Diet members have been accused in recent years of misappropriating government-paid salaries allocated to their secretaries.
Joji Yamamoto, a former member of the Democratic Party of Japan, was convicted of fraud after falsely registering a woman as his secretary in order to pocket this cash.
This year, Social Democratic Party member Kiyomi Tsujimoto and former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka resigned from the Diet over allegations they also misappropriated the salaries of their secretaries.
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