• Crime & Courts

LDP’s Toshihiro Nikai Questioned by Prosecutors over Fundraising Scandal; Accountant Admits Funds Not Recorded (Update 1)

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Toshihiro Nikai

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has questioned Toshihiro Nikai, 84, the leader of a Liberal Democratic Party faction, on a voluntary basis over a scandal of hidden funds from fundraising parties, according to sources.

The prosecutors suspect that some LDP factions concealed part of the revenue from fundraising parties in violation of the Political Funds Control Law, and Nikai leads Shisuikai, known as the Nikai faction.

It seems that prosecutors confirmed whether Nikai had recognized that his faction did not record some of the revenue from its fundraising parties in its political funds reports.

Prosecutors suspect that the faction kicked back some revenue from sales of tickets for fundraising parties to lawmakers in the faction when a member sold more tickets than the number of tickets allocated as the member’s quota.

The squad assumes that, as a result, the Nikai faction had not recorded more than ¥100 million in its political funds reports over a five-year period through 2022.

The sources said that the Nikai faction made lists of the amounts of sales quotas, actual sales revenue amounts and amounts of money kicked back to each faction member, and a chief accounting official of the faction at the time recorded amounts, which reduced the kicked-back amounts from actual sales revenues, in the faction’s political funds reports.

The former chief accounting official admitted to the prosecutors’ allegation that the money which was kicked back was not recorded in the reports.

Nikai has been accused, together with the former chief accounting official, of violating the law.

On Dec. 19, the special investigation squad searched offices of the Nikai faction and Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, another LDP faction that was once led by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on suspicion of violation of the law.