A temporary staff agency gave 13 million yen in cash in 1997 to an unidentified person with close links to Takanori Sakai, it was learned Saturday.
The money, meant as a “reward,” found its way to the arrested lawmaker through a middleman, according to sources close to the case.
The money was not part of the 120 million yen in political donations that the House of Representatives member and his secretaries failed to declare, they said.
Prosecutors are now examining the 13 million yen payoff to the former Liberal Democratic Party politician, they said.
On Friday, prosecutors arrested Sakai, 55, on suspicion of concealing the 120 million yen in political donations over a five-year period through 2001, in violation of the Political Funds Control Law.
According to the sources, Kichiro Tadamura, the middleman, visited the city of Saga in Sakai’s constituency in September 1997 after he had received 16 million yen in cash from Ken Ono, a former president of Career Staff Ltd., now called Adecco Career Staff Ltd. He handed over 13 million yen to the person linked to Sakai at a hotel in the city, they said.
Tadamura, a 70-year-old business consultant, was arrested and indicted in January on a tax evasion charge. The staff agency had consulted with him about how to deal with people in political circles, the sources said.
Ono has told the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office that he had instructed his staff to deliver 16 million yen to Tadamura as a “reward to the lawmaker” but that he does not believe Sakai received all of the money, according to the sources.
Sakai, a Finance Ministry bureaucrat-turned-lawmaker who once served as vice labor minister, is believed to have provided favors for Career Staff since the mid-1990s.
Two aides to Sakai were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of failing to declare political donations from several firms, including Career Staff and Nippon Manpower Co., a vocational training firm, in the political funds reports they presented to authorities.
One of the arrested aides, Motomu Nakayama, has also told prosecutors about the handover of the money from Ono as he was in Saga at the time and was familiar with the situation, according to the sources.
It has also been learned that Sakai kept about 78 million yen in cash, which prosecutors suspect he planned to keep off the books, in a safe in his office at the Diet Members’ Building, the sources said.
The sources said his policy secretary, Aki Shionoya, 38, controlled the use of the money and did not register it. She was arrested on Tuesday together with Nakayama.
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