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An in-house probe by scandal-tainted trading house Yamada Corp. shows it probably overcharged the Defense Ministry by more than ¥4 billion, it was revealed Thursday.

According to the probe, the firm padded bills for defense equipment procured by regional defense facilities by at least ¥3 billion in the five years to fiscal 2006, which ended in March.

It was recently determined that Yamada overcharged the Defense Ministry’s Tokyo headquarters by ¥230 million. But the latest probe uncovered about ¥940 million more in padded bills, and the total is likely to top ¥4 billion.

The company is still investigating the illicit trades, but the Defense Ministry said it plans to ask for the overcharged money to be returned and to demand penalty charges equivalent to that amount for contracts with special stipulations, its officials said.

Yamada Corp. has become the center of bribery allegations involving former Yamada executive Motonobu Miyazaki and former Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya, both of whom have been arrested and indicted by Tokyo prosecutors.

The Defense Ministry and its predecessor, the Defense Agency, have concluded at least ¥18 billion in equipment procurement contracts with Yamada since 1990, according to the ministry.

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