Tokyo prosecutors on Thursday searched the home and the parliament office of House of Representatives lawmaker Mito Kakizawa, with a special investigation team also seeking to question him over allegations of vote-buying in a Tokyo ward mayoral election in April, investigative sources said.

The 52-year-old, who on the same day left the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is suspected of paying money to several Koto Ward assembly members to get a mayoral candidate he backed elected. His constituency office has already been searched, and prosecutors will decide whether to press charges after confirming his involvement.

The development comes at a time when criticism of the LDP has been growing amid a series of political fund scandals involving senior government and party officials belonging to the largest faction formerly led by slain Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.