Japan: new arrest warrant issued over casino bribes

Japan: new arrest warrant issued over casino bribes

New arrest warrant issued for lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto relating to casino bribery allegations that emerged last month.

Japan.- Tusaka Akimoto, the Japanese lawmaker accused of receiving casino bribes, is expected to be subject to an arrest warrant today. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office’s special investigation team has alleged that Akimoto received over €16k in cash bribes.

The investigation team said that Akimoto received bribes from online gambling operator 500.com in exchange of publicly speaking in favour of its proposed casino project. The firm was hoping to participate in the construction of a casino in Hokkaido and asked the lawmaker to deliver a speech at a related symposium in Naha, the Japan Times reported.

The initial payment was €4k but after the firm learned that Akimoto would be assigned to the post of Cabinet Office State Minister in charge of the push to launch integrated resorts in the country, it raised the value of the bribe to €16k. The firm also paid the costs of a trip to Shenzhen to visit its head office.

Casino Regulatory Commission hosts first meeting

The Casino Regulatory Commission of Japan kicked off its first meeting on Friday where it started discussions around the rules that will regulate operations in the country’s new casino industry. The meeting came a few weeks after a bribery scandal related to integrated resorts in the territory.

The Commission, which is affiliated to the Cabinet Office, was established early last week and is set to work on drawing up regulations on resort operators as well.

Michio Kitamura, former Chief of the Fukuoka High Public Prosecutor’s Office and Head of the Regulatory Commission, said that the new body discussed rules to regulate casino operations. “The members of the Commission and staff of its secretariat will unite and work with a sense of urgency to build trust with the public over casino business,” he said after the meeting.

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