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A former Japanese travel agency chief pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of bribing House of Representatives lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto over a casino resort project.

In the first hearing of his trial at the Tokyo District Court, Kimihito Kamori, 77, former chairman of Kamori Kanko Co., admitted to the charges.

Public prosecutors said Kamori Kanko, based in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, planned to open a casino resort in Rusutsu in the prefecture. Chinese company 500.com Ltd. aimed to take part in the project.

Kamori Kanko and 500.com conspired to bribe the 48-year-old Lower House member to win favorable treatment in the project, the prosecutors said.

According to the indictment and other sources, Kamori invited Akimoto and his family to Rusutsu in February 2018 and paid for ¥760,000 in costs in a conspiracy with former 500.com advisers Masahiko Konno, 48, and Katsunori Nakazato, 48.

Akimoto has been indicted on charges of receiving bribes over the resort project and arrested on suspicion of asking Konno to commit perjury in relation to the scandal.

Public prosecutors allege that Akimoto also played a role in asking Nakazato to give false testimony.

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