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SENDAI (Kyodo) The Sendai District Court said Monday a substantial amount of money intended to be paid by the Miyagi Prefectural Police to informants appears to have been used as off-the-book funds.

Ruling on a lawsuit filed by a group of citizens who demanded that Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai urge the police to return the ¥800,000 to prefectural coffers, presiding Judge Ichiro Hata said a considerable portion of the expenditures in question, which were allocated in fiscal 2000 as rewards for informants, is believed to have been used as a slush fund.

The determination was based on an assumption that a whistle-blower over the misappropriation was a former senior police officer, Hata said.

The court, however, rejected the suit itself, saying the process of bringing it to the court was inappropriate.

The latest ruling came after the district court had determined in June 2005 that suspicions exist that a large part of the fiscal 2000 disbursement by the police was fictitious, instead of serving its original purpose as reward for informants.

The prefecture had argued the money was used appropriately.

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