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Kanju Sato, a former home affairs minister who was arrested over the weekend on fraud charges, lent 20 million yen to the Aichi prefectural chapter of the Democratic Party of Japan in October to be used for the Nov. 9 general election of the House of Representatives, sources said Monday.

The loan was apparently made possible because Sato’s personal assets had grown due to his alleged pocketing of roughly 17 million yen in government-paid salary for a woman falsely registered as his secretary, the sources said. Sato was arrested Sunday.

Sato, 62, who was then head of the DPJ Aichi chapter, had 10 million yen paid into the chapter’s account on Oct. 2 and 10 in his name.

The money was due to be repaid by the end of April.

The DPJ prefectural chapter has told Kyodo News that it received 20 million yen in loans from Sato. One official said, “It is our understanding that the money was Sato’s personal assets.”

Before his arrest, Sato told Kyodo News he had lent 20 million yen to the chapter.

“I gave instructions to my wife, but after that, I haven’t been involved, and don’t know anything,” he claimed.

On Monday, police raided the chapter’s office in Nagoya for evidence of the alleged embezzlement by Sato, his wife, Miyoko, 52, and Seiki Asada, 66, a close associate of Sato.

Police said the 17 million yen Sato and the two others are suspected of embezzling was paid into several bank accounts kept by Miyoko.

Police said Asada’s 51-year-old wife, who allegedly agreed to have herself registered as one of Sato’s government-paid secretaries even though she did not work for the office, has told people around her that she was recently told by Sato not to say that she had “lent” her name.

An investigation has determined that the woman’s salary was paid into Miyoko Sato’s accounts, into the DPJ’s office in the No. 10 constituency in Aichi, and into Kanju Sato’s political funds group in July 2000 and last April.

The salary of Miyoko Sato, who was registered as Sato’s secretary, was also paid into these accounts.

Sato was once chairman of the National Public Safety Commission, which oversees the nation’s police.

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