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OSAKA — A senior official of Hanshin Expressway Public Corp. and two senior officials of a construction company in Osaka Prefecture were arrested Friday in connection with an alleged bid-rigging case in 2000, police said.

Arrested were Mikio Kato, 56, head of Hanshin Expressway’s construction division in Kyoto; Seiji Okura, 71, president of Kokuyo Kensetsu; and one of Okura’s subordinates.

The Osaka Prefectural Police said they also served fresh arrest warrants to Yasuo Kondo, 55, a deputy manager of Hanshin Expressway’s administration department in Osaka, and Masao Yamamoto, 62, chairman of Kokuyo Kensetsu, on the same charge.

Kondo and Yamamoto were arrested Nov. 2 on suspicion of favoring a particular bidder for road-related work in December 1999.

On Nov. 2, police also arrested Yorimichi Maekawa, 59, former deputy manager of Hanshin Expressway’s administration department in Osaka, for bid-rigging in 1999.

Osaka prosecutors indicted Maekawa and Yamamoto on Friday.

On Dec. 26, 2000, according to police, the five officials conspired to have Kokuyo Kensetsu win a bid for the construction of new soundproof walls on Hanshin Expressway’s Moriguchi Line.

Kato and Kondo, who worked under Kato at that time, selected nine companies for the bidding. But Kokuyo Kensetsu was the only firm with experience in the field and the only one that actually wanted to win the bid, police said.

The duo are suspected of leaking a rough price for the construction to Kokuyo Kensetsu, the police said. Kokuyo Kensetsu won the bid with an offer of 180 million yen, about 99 percent of the planned price, they added.

Kato has denied the charge, according to police. The other four have admitted to the charge.

Okura worked for the corporation until he retired in March 1984. In December that year, he was offered a high-ranking position at Kokuyo Kensetsu.

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