Trial of Japanese politician Akimoto on bribery charges sees two testify that they accompanied him on Macau trip

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Tsukasa Akimoto

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Tsukasa Akimoto, the member of the House of Representatives accused of bribery in a corruption case involving IR, was at the Tokyo District Court on Friday 7 May 2021.

Takaki Shirasuka, a member of the House of Representatives, and Shigeaki Katsunuma, a former member of the House of Representatives, testified that they were both invited by Chinese online gaming company 500.com, which is alleged to have offered the bribe to Akimoto, on a trip to Shenzhen, China and Macau with the 49-year-old.

However, Katsunuma told the court on Friday, I thought the purpose of the trip was so that Akimoto could make an assessment of the company entering the IR business.

Former Representative, Katsunuma, explained that in December 2017 he was invited by Akimoto to participate in the trip.

It was expensive, with a private jet for travel, and I thought the company paid for it, he said. Shirasuka testified that he received chips from 500.com for Macau casinos and paid for Akimoto to make a purchase at a luxury store.

Akimoto served as State Minister of the Cabinet Office at the time the bribery allegedly took place. He is accused of bribery for accepting a total of JPY 760 million from former advisors of 500.com in 2018, in addition to attempting to instigate false testimony of those who are accused of bribing him.

Akimoto stated at the first trial at the Tokyo District Court in March that he had never met with a person related to a Chinese company and had not received any cash. Further, he has consistently pleaded his innocence since being arrested.

The four who offered the bribes and the four alleged accomplices of Akimoto in the witness bribery case have admitted all charges and have already been convicted.

Akimotos defense lawyer has requested bail.