Crime & Justice

Former Japan gov’t no. 2 questioned over political funds scandal: media

Tokyo, Dec 25 (EFE).- The Tokyo prosecutor’s office has questioned former government spokesman and number two, Hirokazu Matsuno, on a voluntary basis over a political funds scandal, according to local media.

The prosecution team in charge of the case also questioned Tsuyoshi Takagi, the current secretary general of one of the factions of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), according to unnamed sources close to the matter cited by Kyodo news agency on Monday.

The politicians are part of one of two factions against which formal investigations have been opened, specifically Seiwaken, the most influential of the LDP and which was led at the time by the late former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

The scandal, which cost four ministers, including ex-chief cabinet secretary Matsuno, their jobs, is linked to alleged undeclared income from fundraising events organized by various factions of the party, part of which would have been distributed among dozens of its members.

This would be a violation of the Political Funds Control Act.

In addition to the Seiwaken faction, the prosecutor’s office is investigating the Shisuikai faction, led by Toshiro Nikai, former LDP secretary general, and according to information published by local media, three other factions could have also been involved.

The undeclared revenues are thought to amount to at least 500 million yen (about $3.5 million) in the case of the Seiwaken faction and more than 100 million yen (nearly $700,000) for the Shisuikai faction, part of which would have been distributed among dozens of faction members between 2018 and 2022. EFE

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