Tokyo prosecutors search offices of ruling party factions amid political funds scandal

Tokyo, Dec 19 (EFE).- Prosecutors on Tuesday searched offices linked to Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as part of an investigation into a political funds scandal that led to a recent purge of ministers.

Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigators searched the headquarters of two of the most important LDP factions, in the district of Chiyoda, on suspicion of having violated the political funds control law by not declaring income from fundraising events, among other irregularities.

The searches, which began shortly after 10 am local time (01:00 GMT), were carried out in the offices belonging to the Seiwaken faction, the most influential of the LDP and which was once led by the late former prime minister Shinzo Abe; and the Shisuikai faction, led by former party secretary-general Toshiro Nikai.

The scandal has so far cost four ministers their jobs, including the former government spokesperson and until last week number two in the government, Hirokazu Matsuno.

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.

Tuesday’s searches coincide with the formal opening of a prosecutor’s investigation into the irregularities. EFE


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