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A Nishimatsu Construction Co. branch in Iwate Prefecture asked subcontractors to support Democratic Party of Japan President Ichiro Ozawa by donating money or joining his support group, and records indicate his aide may have known the donations were illegal, a source close to the contractor said Wednesday.

Since the donations were apparently made in small amounts to avoid drawing suspicion, Ozawa’s chief secretary, Takanori Okubo, may have been aware they were illegal, investigative sources said. Okubo was arrested Tuesday.

Two political groups related to Nishimatsu made small donations on five or six occasions over a period of one to two weeks to three Ozawa-related organizations, including Rikuzankai, his fund management body. The donations are documented in political fund reports submitted earlier by the bodies.

Okubo, 47, was in charge of Rikuzankai’s accounting. Prosecutors said he took special measures to avoid drawing attention to the fund reports, suggesting he may have been aware the donations were illegal, the sources claimed.

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