Court sets bail for Japanese lawmaker held over casino bribery case at 30 mil. yen

Monday 10th February 2020

TOKYO -- A Japanese lawmaker charged with taking bribes from a Chinese firm, which was seeking to open a casino resort in Japan, was granted bail on Feb. 10, with the amount set at 30 million yen.

The Tokyo District Court granted bail to Tsukasa Akimoto, 48, a House of Representatives member who left the ruling Liberal Democratic Party following his arrest in December 2019 over the bribery case, after his lawyer requested his release on Feb. 3, when the lawmaker was indicted on additional charges.

It is rare for a court to allow bail of an accused person in a bribery case handled by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation unit while the person fully denies the allegations.

According to a source close to the matter, Akimoto has expressed his wish to attend the regular Diet session currently underway after his release.

Akimoto stands accused of receiving 2 million yen as "lecture fees" for a casino resort-related symposium by the Chinese firm suspected of giving bribes to the lawmaker in September 2017, accepting 3 million yen in cash at his office in the lower house members' office building in Tokyo the same month, having the Chinese firm cover his travel expenses of roughly 1.85 million yen for his trip to the Chinese city of Shenzhen in December 2017, and accepting payoffs equivalent to a total of 760,000 yen from the company, which included travel expenses for his trip to Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido in February 2018.

(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Toyama, City News Department)

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