Arrested former Justice Minister Katsuyuki Kawai has admitted to handing out cash to local lawmakers and supporters but denied any intention to buy votes for his wife's election campaign last summer, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

Kawai, 57, known for having had close ties with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and his lawmaker wife Anri, 46, were arrested last Thursday on suspicion of giving ¥25.7 million ($240,000) in cash to 94 local politicians and supporters to reward them for their efforts to secure votes for her in the House of Councilors election last July.

The sources also said lists used to record about 100 cash payment recipients are believed to have been made by Shinsuke Takaya, 44, a former close aide of Katsuyuki Kawai. Takaya is currently on trial for bribing election campaigners.