Japan's ruling LDP lawmakers questioned as kickback scandal rages

by IANS |

Tokyo, Dec 6 (IANS) Japanese public prosecutors have begun questioning lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s largest faction on a voluntary basis over a political fund scandal, local media reported on Wednesday.

Seiwaken, or the Seiwa policy study group, the largest LDP faction previously led by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was suspected to have pooled secret funds amounting to around 100 million yen (about $679,000) over at least the past five years through 2022, national news agency Kyodo reported.

The slush funds were suspected to have been created by returning part of sales of political fundraising party tickets to its lawmakers as kickbacks, Xinhua news agency reported.

Prosecutors have questioned on a voluntary basis secretaries of lawmakers who were alleged to have received kickbacks from Seiwaken, Kyodo reported, citing investigative sources.

At least 10 lawmakers received kickbacks, with some given 10 million yen or more by the faction comprising around 100 members, said the report.

The special squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office was investigating flows of funds and the details of how political funds reports were created at the faction, eyeing the possibility of establishing a case on suspicion of violating the political funds control law, Jiji Press reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Japan's political funds control law requires political organisations to list in their fund reports the names of individuals or organisations that paid more than 200,000 yen at a fundraising party, along with the amounts paid.

According to multiple local media outlets, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday requested all LDP factions to refrain from holding fundraising parties for the time being, amid growing criticism and allegations that five LDP factions, including his own underreported their revenue from fundraising parties.

"New revelations have emerged to expand the allegations surrounding the political fundraising parties of various LDP factions, taking the scandal into a new phase," Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun said in an editorial published on Wednesday.

"Fundraising parties have long been criticised for a lack of transparency and described as a hotbed for the creation of slush funds," noted the editorial, urging the LDP to "dig deep to get to the bottom of slush fund allegations." (1 Japanese yen equals $0.0068)

Latest News
Zee Entertainment denies report of fund diversion Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 04:05 PM
Sandeshkhali crisis: NCST seeks report from Bengal CS and DGP Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 03:55 PM
Higher secondary exams begin in violence-hit Manipur Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 03:48 PM
Karnataka DyCM Shivakumar attacks Kumaraswamy after facing flak over lawyers issue Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 03:05 PM
'Money mule' bank accounts on the rise in India: Report Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 03:02 PM
J&K: Abida War awarded Gandhian Rashtriya Seva Puraskar Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 03:01 PM
AIADMK commences distribution of application forms for Lok Sabha polls Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:57 PM
Nitin Gadkari to inaugurate projects worth Rs 13,000 cr in Karnataka Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:52 PM
'It is miraculous': Aakash Chopra on Rishabh Pant potential comeback in IPL 2024 Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:42 PM
PM to dedicate to nation 2 N-power reactors; Kakrapar plant 4 to be connected to grid soon Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:32 PM
FMCG stocks underperformed benchmark index in last one year Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:31 PM
Haven't joined INDIA block: Kamal Haasan Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:23 PM
Yashasvi gains big in ICC Test rankings after double ton in Rajkot Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:20 PM
Delhi HC restrains Geetanjali Salon from playing copyrighted songs without licence Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:10 PM
Security beefed up at Delhi-Gurugram border amid farmers' protest Wed, Feb 21, 2024, 02:08 PM