Prosecutors served new arrest warrants Monday on two arrested former senior officials of the Japan Dental Association over alleged hidden donations to the Liberal Democratic Party’s largest faction.
Sadao Usuda, 73, and Hirotake Uchida, 63, were served the new warrants for suspected violations of the Political Funds Control Law through their political donations to the faction and to Yukihiro Yoshida, a former dentist and ex-member of the House of Representatives, sources said.
Usuda and Uchida were earlier charged with bribery.
The sources said Toshiyuki Takigawa, former treasurer of the LDP’s faction, known as Heisei Kenkyukai (Heisei Study Group), who was arrested by prosecutors Sunday, failed to issue a receipt for the association’s political donation to the faction, even though the association had strongly demanded one.
Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto was forced to resign as head of the faction at the end of July when the scandal broke.
Takigawa, who is suspected of violating the political funds law by failing to declare a 100 million yen donation, has told investigators the association never asked for a receipt, the sources said.
Hashimoto, who allegedly received 100 million yen from the dental association in 2001, claims he can’t remember receiving the check.
According to an investigation, Usuda and Uchida gave 100 million yen to Heisei Kenkyukai but did not enter it in the association’s books for 2001. They are also suspected of donating 51 million yen to Yoshida, a former Diet member belonging to the LDP, from January to August 2002, and did not list in the books for 2002, the sources said.
Yoshida, 43, has been indicted for allegedly buying votes using money from the association before the Lower House election last November, in which he lost his seat.
According to the sources, Uchida and Usuda gave the money to Hashimoto in July 2001. Uchida then phoned Takigawa, 55, to ask for a receipt, but Takigawa did not comply.
Uchida also consulted senior officials of the LDP secretariat about the matter and continued to ask Takigawa in 2002 for a receipt, the sources said.
To avoid discrepancies with the faction’s report, the association decided — with Usuda’s approval — not to mention the donation in its books, according to the sources.
The faction also made no mention of the 100 million yen in its 2001 political funds report, though the report did say the faction got 1 million yen from the dental group’s political arm.
After the misdeed was uncovered, the faction on July 14 officially acknowledged the donation and refiled the 2001 political funds report.
Hashimoto was prime minister from 1996 to 1998 and became the faction head in 2000.
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