The war of words continued Friday at the Diet as Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe fended off opposition claims of shady financial ties between his son and jailed Livedoor founder Takafumi Horie.
Takebe told reporters Friday morning that he has checked the account records of his second son and found no money transferred to him from Horie as alleged Thursday by a Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker who claimed to have a secret e-mail from the company.
Takebe said he has already handed his son’s banking records to managing members of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, where the allegation was first raised by DPJ lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata of Chiba Prefecture.
The LDP also said that Nagata, who claimed Horie ordered Livedoor Co. staff to transfer 30 million yen to the son’s bank account on Aug. 26, should produce hard evidence to substantiate his allegation.
It is unclear why money would be sent to Takebe’s son and how it would have been used. Takebe strongly endorsed Horie’s candidacy as an independent running in Hiroshima in the Sept. 11 Lower House election, running against ousted LDP old-guard Shizuka Kamei, who won.
In the Lower House Budget Committee on Friday, Nagata said the message was dated Aug. 26 at 3:21:35 p.m.
But Ichiro Aisawa, an LDP legislator from Okayama Prefecture, said Horie was making a TV appearance in Hiroshima at that time.
“It was physically impossible for him to send an e-mail at that time,” Aisawa told the panel. He said he confirmed this by checking the records of TV programs, although he didn’t specify which ones.
“Does this e-mail really exist? Who sent this mail and who received it? It has not been made clear and (the allegation) totally lacks authenticity,” Aisawa shouted.
Yoshihiko Noda, DPJ diet affairs chief, said the date and time of e-mail varies depending on the settings of the server software, and thus the indicated time may not be accurate. For example, the date can be when the receiver accesses the server to check a mail box, not the time mail was sent.
Noda said the DPJ remains confident its copy of the e-mail is genuine.
“We believe (the e-mail) is highly credible,” he said.
The DPJ is now negotiating with its source about the conditions under which it can release more information about the e-mail, he said.
On Friday night, the DPJ disclosed a printout of the electronic message in question. Earlier, the DPJ had refused to disclose further details about the message and its source, saying the source’s safety could be jeopardized if he is identified.
The DPJ said the suspicious death Jan. 18 of H.S. Securities Co. Vice President Hideaki Noguchi is another reason why the source of the e-mail should be protected.
Police say Noguchi killed himself at a Naha hotel on Jan. 18, but allegations have surfaced that he was slain. He was a key member of the Livedoor group and had intimate knowledge of Horie’s operations.
Horie and three of his key executives were arrested Jan. 23 on suspicion of securities law violations involving subsidiary Livedoor Marketing Co. They were indicted Monday and remain in detention.
Horie denies donation
Arrested former Livedoor Co. President Takafumi Horie has denied instructing in a company e-mail that 30 million yen be sent to the second son of Tsutomu Takebe, secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Horie’s lawyer said Friday.
Horie, 33, was quoted as saying in detention: “I did not send money, and I was not supposed to do so. I did not issue such an e-mail, either.”
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