A key promoter of the popular K-1 martial arts event was arrested Monday on suspicion of evading about 177 million yen in taxes, according to sources.

The warrant served on Kazuyoshi Ishii, 49, alleges he concealed income in 1999 and 2000, thereby failing to pay 177 million yen in taxes, the sources said.

Ishii quit in December as president of a K-1 event-organizing company after prosecutors indicted him, without putting him under arrest, on suspicion that he had hid more than 100 million yen in income between 1997 and 1998, thus failing to pay taxes of 60 million yen.

Prosecutors have since collected evidence against Ishii’s suspected tax evasion in the 1999-2000 period, the sources said.

Ishii had argued that he had no income during that period because at that time his company suffered 1 billion yen in debt over a breach of contract for failing in an attempt to invite a former boxing world champion to an event, according to the sources.

Launched in 1993, K-1 is a form of competitive fighting with participants from various martial arts disciplines.

Ishii established Seidokaikan, or the International Practical Karate-Do Association, in 1981 before launching the K-1 company in 1996. The firm’s annual sales hit 2.1 billion yen in the business year to September 2000.

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