• Jiji


Tokyo District Court decided Monday to allow the release of lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto on bail, after his detention over a high-profile corruption case linked to the government’s plan to permit so-called integrated resorts (IR) featuring casinos in Japan.

Tsukasa Akimoto | KYODO
Tsukasa Akimoto | KYODO

Akimoto, 49, a member of the House of Representatives, paid the bail, set at ¥80 million, in cash on the day.

Meanwhile, prosecutors appealed the district court decision to Tokyo High Court, and Akimoto will not be released unless the high court upholds the decision.

The defense team for Akimoto filed a sixth application for his release on bail on June 1, when questioning of the lawmaker began during his trial at the district court.

After being arrested for allegedly accepting bribes from Chinese company 500.com Ltd. over the firm’s IR plan, Akimoto was released on bail in February last year. However, the lawmaker was rearrested in August on suspicion of having asked former 500.com officials to give false testimony.

He has since been detained at the Tokyo Detention House for about nine and a half months. Akimoto has pled not guilty to the charges.

According to the indictment, Akimoto received bribes worth around ¥7.6 million from representatives of 500.com, including ¥3 million in cash in September 2017. The Chinese company was apparently seeking a favor from Akimoto, who was in a senior government post in charge of the state’s IR initiative, in relation to its bid to join an IR project in Japan.

Between June and July last year, when he was on bail, Akimoto allegedly asked two former advisers of the Chinese company to give false testimony that would benefit the lawmaker at court, in return for money.

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