The Tokyo High Court on Monday upheld the convictions of three former executives of Shimizu Corp. who were found guilty of bribing a governor to obtain favorable treatment in bidding on a public works project.

In September 2000, the Tokyo District Court sentenced Teruzo Yoshino, 84, former chairman of the general contractor, to two years in prison, suspended for four years.

Hiroyuki Koyama, 76, and Akikazu Matsumoto, 69, were sentenced to suspended 18-month prison terms.

In December 1992, the three provided 10 million yen in cash to then Ibaraki Gov. Fujio Takeuchi, 85, as a reward for helping the firm receive orders for sewer-related work projects.

The three pleaded not guilty, calling it a miscarriage of justice and questioning the reliability of the statements they made to investigators. They claimed since the initial trial that they never gave the bribes, and that it was wrong for the district court to find them guilty when it could not determine where the money came from.

Presiding high court Judge Kunio Harada said there was “little reason to question that the defendants’ confessions were made voluntarily, as they included facts that investigators were unaware of.”

Harada said Takeuchi’s confession was also reliable, and “although where the bribes came from cannot be pinpointed, there was some money that was unaccounted for that could be considered as the bribes, and there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to back the confession.”

Takeuchi has insisted on his innocence since being charged with bribery. He is now standing trial in the Tokyo District Court.

The case is part of a broader bribery scandal that led to the indictment of 32 people, of whom 26 — including Kishiro Nakamura, 53, a former construction minister — have been convicted.

Six others, including the three whose sentences were upheld Monday, have pleaded not guilty.

Takeuchi, who stands accused of receiving 95 million yen from four major construction firms, has denied ever receiving the cash, except for the 10 million yen from Tobishima Corp., which he claimed was a political donation.

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