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Former lawmaker Yukihiro Yoshida, under indictment in a money scandal involving the Japan Dental Association, allegedly brokered a donation of 3 million yen by the dentists lobby to former health minister Chikara Sakaguchi in November 2002, sources related to the case said Sunday.

Sakaguchi, a House of Representatives member from New Komeito, returned the 3 million yen by March the following year. Yoshida belonged to the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito’s bigger partner in the ruling coalition.

This could be regarded as a violation of the Political Funds Control Law, but prosecutors do not intend to press charges against Sakaguchi because he returned the money, the sources said.

Sakaguchi earlier filed a defamation suit against editors of the Chunichi Shimbun for articles in July purporting he received donations from the dental association.

“We would like to refrain from making any responses now that the criminal complaint and lawsuit have been filed with hearings and investigations under way,” Sakaguchi’s office told Kyodo News.

Yoshida, who lost his Diet seat in the Lower House election in November 2003, was indicted in August on charges of buying votes using money from the dental lobby before the election and also for embezzling the association’s money in 2001.

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