Tokyo prosecutors ask to question ex-gov’t number 2 over political funds scandal

Tokyo, Dec 21 (EFE).- Japan prosecutors have asked former chief cabinet secretary and government number two, Hirokazu Matsuno, to undergo voluntary questioning as part of an investigation into a political funds scandal.

The prosecution’s team in charge of the case has made similar requests to other high-profile members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), according to leaks to the public broadcaster NHK published Thursday.

The politicians called to testify are part of one of the two factions (political groups within the party itself) against which formal investigations have been opened, specifically the 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-top government spokesman 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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