• Kyodo

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Prosecutors on Friday charged once high-flying pop music producer and singer Tetsuya Komuro with orchestrating a ¥500 million fraud over copyrights of songs he no longer owned.

Osaka prosecutors filed the indictment against Komuro, 49, who has released numerous hit songs.

Komuro has owned up to the charges, telling investigators he was desperately in need of money to pay back loans, investigative sources said.

After the indictment, the Osaka District Court freed Komuro on ¥30 million bail.

“I thank the victim for giving me the opportunity to look back on my life.” Komuro reportedly said. “I became ‘the emperor with no clothes’ while I earned a lot of money and led a lavish life.”

The prosecutors also indicted Takashi Kimura, 56, a senior official of a Tokyo-based entertainment agency in which Komuro is involved as a board member, over the fraud case.

Komuro is alleged to have concluded a contract in August 2006 with an investor from the city of Ashiya, Hyogo Prefecture, to sell 806 songs for ¥1 billion, despite being aware he no longer owned the songs, most of which he had written.

He subsequently bilked the investor out of ¥500 million in advance payment, according to the prosecutors’ investigation.

Of the ¥500 million, Komuro used about ¥340 million to pay off debts.

Akihiko Hirane, a 45-year-old executive of a Tokyo-based entertainment agency who was also arrested along with Komuro earlier this month, had tried to stop him, believing the contract would be risky. However, Komuro ignored his advice and proceeded with the deal. Prosecutors opted not to indict Hirane because he did not profit from the case.

Komuro has written scores of hits since the 1990s for such popular singers as Namie Amuro, but is said to have struggled lately with accumulated debts of more than ¥1 billion because of failed businesses and compensation to his former wife.

On Nov. 4, prosecutors arrested Komuro and two senior officials of a Tokyo-based entertainment agency in which Komuro is involved as a board member.

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