A former senior official with the Japanese unit of a German government wine promotion institute was arrested Thursday on suspicion of defrauding the organization of 15 million, yen police said.

Akihiro Mineo, 41, former marketing director at the Japanese unit of the German Wine Institute, allegedly asked three companies it has business relations with to send fictitious bills totaling 15 million yen on advertising and event promotion on three occasions between last October and January.

Mineo then allegedly asked the institute to direct the money to his own bank account and is suspected of using it to pay off his debts.

“We allowed the former director (Mineo) to take care of everything. We are sorry,” said Chikako Oshima, representative of the institute’s Japan branch.

The case came to light in February, when the institute conducted an internal investigation. It fired Mineo and filed a criminal complaint against him with Tokyo police in June.

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