A Japanese lawmaker who had been questioned by the prosecutors following the arrest of Tsukasa Akimoto, a ruling party lawmaker, has admitted taking a bribe from 500.com to fund his election campaign.
Lawmaker, Mikio Shimoji whose name surfaced in the casino bribery scandal and who was questioned by the prosecutors has admitted taking a ¥1m ($9,250) bribe from Chinese gambling operator 500.com. He also reportedly admitted to having taken a bribe to fund his 2017 general election campaign.
Last year, on December 25, Japanese lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto was arrested by the investigating authorities over suspicion of taking bribes from Chinese gambling operator 500.com. Akimoto was a deputy minister in the government in charge of the government’s gambling policies. He was alleged to have taken a bribe from the Chinese gambling operator which sought favors from the lawmaker.
First, Akimoto’s office was raided, following which he was arrested. While Akimoto maintains that he hasn’t received any bribe, other 500.com officials arrested in connection with scandal revealed names, 5 other lawmakers, claiming they had also taken bribes from the company.
The court has extended the detention of Tsukasa Akimoto until January 14, upon the request of the prosecutors.
The prosecutors have also questioned Japan’s ex-defense minister as his name also surfaced in the scandal. However, the minister has categorically denied involvement.
While Akimoto has resigned from the party, the Japanese government has said that the scandal will not deter its casino plans.
Japan is poised to launch three integrated resorts in the first phase of its casino expansion plan. According to the analysts, the Japanese casino gambling industry would be the third-largest in the world only after Macau and Nevada. It is estimated that Japan’s casino gambling industry would generate approximately $8-10 billion in annual revenue.