Authorities Raid Japan’s Ruling Party Lawmaker Over Connection With China-based Gambling Operator

Authorities Raid Japan’s Ruling Party Lawmaker Over Connection With China-based Gambling Operator

A member of Japan’s House of Representatives from the ruling party has come under the radar of the investigating authorities in connection with alleged links with a casino and gambling operator based in China. The gambling operator has been under investigation over suspicion of money laundering and breach of forex laws.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the Japanese prosecutors on Thursday raided two Tokyo offices of a ruling party lawmaker.

The lawmaker hails from the country’s liberal democratic party which is also currently in power. Tsukasa Akimoto, the 48-year-old lawmaker has been an active supporter of Japan’s gambling expansion plans. He has been speaking in favor of having casinos for foreigners in the country.

On Thursday, the lawmaker’s parliamentary and constituency offices saw members of the Tokyo prosecutors’ special investigation squad conducting a raid. The raids have been told to be a part of an investigation against a Chinese casino operator which has demonstrated an interest in having a casino in the country.

It should be noted that there is fierce competition amongst gambling operators across the globe who want to win a casino license in Japan. It is expected that Japan would be a regional hot spot after Macau attracting gamblers from across the globe.

According to a report from Sanford C Bernstein, the Japanese casino gambling industry could be the third-largest in the world only after Macau and Nevada.

Rep Akimoto had been tasked with preparing the government’s policy related to Integrated Resorts. He had been monitoring the policy formation from August 2017 to October 2018. Akimoto was a senior vice minister at the Cabinet Office.

While the name of the gambling operator has not been revealed by the investigators, the Shenzhen headquartered casino operator has been alleged to have chipped in huge sums of money in Japan without duly informing the concerned authorities.

According to the local forex laws, anyone coming in Japan with more than 1 million yen ($9,100) in cash has to inform the customs officers and explain why the cash is needed.

While the investigations are ongoing, if found guilty of violating the forex laws, the lawmaker can be sent for up to six months in prison.

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