LDP’s Abe Faction Refused to Accept Receipts For Kickbacks from Party Ticket Revenue

A Liberal Democratic Party faction once led by late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refused to accept receipts from lawmakers for kickbacks from excess party ticket revenues, according to sources.

It is suspected that Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, known as the Abe faction, gave money to members when sales of tickets for the faction’s fundraising parties exceeded their respective quotas, which resulted in “off-the-books” funds.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation team regards the refusal of receipts as an indication that the faction played a leading role in making the kickback money into hidden funds.

According to sources, the faction’s officials in charge of accounting provided the kickbacks in cash to the lawmakers after the parties ended. Some members offered to issue receipts for the money when they received the payment on the premise that it would be recorded in political fund reports for both the faction and the lawmakers themselves. However, accounting officials rejected the offers, saying that accepting receipts would cause trouble. Members also were instructed not to note the cash flow in their political funds reports. Usually, lawmakers are obliged to include receipts with their income and expenditure reports.

Prosecutors are interviewing faction members on a voluntary basis, and are believed to be confirming details of conversations with the faction officials over how the kickback money would be used.

It is suspected that the total amount of the kickbacks in a five-year period from 2018 to 2022 could reach ¥500 million. The special investigation team is likely considering filing a case against faction officials responsible for accounting on suspicion that they intentionally did not record or made false records about the kickbacks in violation of the Political Funds Control Law.