Prosecutors decided Tuesday not to pursue a case against former Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, who was suspected of misusing her secretary’s government salary.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office waved an indictment against Tanaka, 59, because it found she had not misappropriated the money and thus was unable to charge her with fraud, prosecutors said.
The decision put an end to an investigation launched after the head of a political organization in Nara filed a criminal complaint on suspicion of fraud in April 2002.
According to the complaint, Tanaka pocketed 5.89 million yen of the secretary’s government-paid salary in 1997.
It says the secretary was an employee of bus operator Echigo Kotsu Co., which is operated by Tanaka’s family, and received a salary from the firm while on loan to the lawmaker as an aide.
The investigation, however, found that the secretary wanted to work on loan to remain eligible for health and unemployment insurance.
It also found that the salary from the government was kept in cash by the bus company and settled at the end of the fiscal year, and the salary paid by the company to the secretary was roughly the same amount as that paid by the government.
Reports that Tanaka misappropriated money surfaced in weekly magazines in April 2002. Tanaka denied the allegations before the Lower House Deliberative Council on Political Ethics but resigned as a lawmaker in August 2002.
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