- Crime & Courts
Indictments Filed Regarding 3 LDP Factions; Unreported Funds of Abe, Nikai, Kishida Factions Exceed ¥950 Million (UPDATE 1)
16:34 JST, January 19, 2024 (updated at 18:00 JST)
Indictments were filed Friday against those who were in charge of accounting for three factions of the Liberal Democratic Party — the Abe faction, the Nikai faction and the Kishida faction — regarding problems of underreporting political fundraising party revenue.
The total amount that was not included in the political funds reports of the three factions is expected to be around ¥960 million.
The three are Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, also known as the Abe faction, which was formerly led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Shisuikai, also known as the Nikai faction, led by former LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai; and Kochikai, known as the Kishida faction, which had been led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
On charges of violating the Political Funds Control Law, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigation squad indicted an accounting manager for the Abe faction and a former accounting manager for the Nikai faction without arrest and issued a summary indictment for a former accounting manager for the Kishida faction.
When a suspect is indicted without arrest, the crime is tried in an official open court. If a summary indictment issued to a suspect, a formal trial is not held, but the summary court issues a summary order for fines after an examination of documents.
The Abe and Nikai factions are suspected of turning the revenue from fundraising parties into hidden funds without recording it in their political funds reports by kicking back to faction members the monetary amounts by which they exceeded their assigned party ticket sales quotas, or by letting the members keep the excess funds in their own offices.
The total unreported amount was about ¥670 million for the Abe faction and about ¥260 million for the Nikai faction, just for the five years up to 2022, the period that falls within the statute of limitations. The Kishida faction is said to have left out a total of about ¥30 million, including a portion of its fundraising party revenue, over three years up to 2020.
The special investigation squad will not indict the seven senior members of the Abe faction who were accused of violating the law, on the grounds that collusion with the accounting manager cannot be proven.
However, House of Councillors member Yasutada Ono, 64, and his secretary were indicted without arrest for failing to record over ¥50 million in kickback cash in his political funds report. Summary indictments were issued for House of Representatives member Yaichi Tanigawa, 82, and his secretary who were suspected of failing to report more than ¥40 million.
The squad had already arrested Yoshitaka Ikeda, 57, a lower house member, and his secretary in charge of accounting, and has extended their detention period until Jan. 26. The prosecutors plan to indict them before the ordinary Diet session starting on Jan. 26.
It was discovered that in the office of Nikai, 84, the head of the Nikai faction, about ¥35 million, the amount in excess of his party ticket sales quota, was retained instead of being paid to the faction. The prosecutors also issued a summary indictment Friday against his secretary, who was in charge of the accounting process.
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