Arrested former lawmaker Kiyomi Tsujimoto used some 40 million yen of her office’s illegally pooled funds to loan to her friends, sources alleged Tuesday.

They said the 43-year-old former policy chief of the Social Democratic Party borrowed the money on about 30 occasions over a period of 5 1/2 years until she resigned from the House of Representatives in March 2002, lending the money to her personal acquaintances.

Tsujimoto repaid all the money to the bank account managed by her office, they said.

Police arrested Tsujimoto on July 18 for allegedly misusing 19 million yen in state funds earmarked for secretarial pay.

She has insisted that the money was used to cover her office expenses and denied that she used any of the funds for private purposes.

Tsujimoto borrowed from one of the office’s five bank accounts, in which most of the diverted state funds were pooled, between October 1996 and March 2002, withdrawing between 1 million yen and 1.5 million yen each time, the sources said.

Police suspect Tsujimoto paid her two female secretaries only a fraction of the money the government allocated to her for their salaries, using the rest to run her office, according to other sources.

Embarrassing arrest

SAITAMA (Kyodo) The son of a House of Representatives member was arrested Tuesday morning on suspicion of drunken driving, according to the Saitama Prefectural Police.

Shuji Takeyama, who is the state-funded secretary of his mother, Yuriko Takeyama, was said to be in a drunken stupor when officers nabbed him.

The company executive, 28, is the older of the Liberal Party lawmaker’s two sons.

Police said they apprehended him after learning he had run into a car belonging to a 52-year-old woman at around 6:15 a.m. on a street in Kasukabe in the prefecture.

He was apparently on his way home after drinking heavily at an “izakaya,” a Japanese-style eatery, when he allegedly caused the accident while trying to pull back out from a one-way street he had entered going the wrong way, they said.

Neither driver was injured.

A breath test detected 0.75 mg of alcohol per liter on his breath.

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