National / Crime & Legal

Two-year sentence sought for ex-SoftBank employee over data leak to Russia

JIJI

Public prosecutors demanded two years’ imprisonment and a fine of ¥1 million on Tuesday for a former employee of SoftBank Corp. over a leak of confidential corporate information to a Russian diplomat.

In the first hearing at Tokyo District Court, Yutaka Araki, 48, former chief of the major Japanese mobile communications carrier’s information technology promotion headquarters, pleaded guilty to violating the unfair competition prevention law.

Araki was indicted for accessing a server of the firm using an office computer Feb. 18 and March 26, 2019, and stealing confidential manuals related to operation verifications for SoftBank’s base stations.

He said during the court hearing that he was persuaded by the then Russian deputy trade representative to take photos of an office computer displaying confidential information and encode the photo data using his own computer.

Araki admitted that he accepted cash twice totaling ¥400,000 in return for the data. “I refused once, but I became willing to help him,” he said. “I did a stupid thing.”

In the closing argument, prosecutors pointed out that Araki was driven by personal greed and was very thoughtless. “The case had a big impact on society,” they said.

Meanwhile, the defense side called for a suspended sentence, claiming that he was “talked into the crime by the suspected Russian spy” and has already received social punishment by having been dismissed by the company.

All trial procedures ended on the same day. The ruling will be handed down on July 9.

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