On January 12, the Tokyo District Court ruled against Democratic Party of Japan diet member Yasuko Komiyama in a lottery ticket fraud scheme masterminded by her brother, reports Shukan Asahi Geino (Feb. 2).
The ruling requires the 46-year-old lawmaker and the other defendants, including her brother, Kenji Hashimoto, 41, her mother, and lottery ticket sales firm New Lottery Service, to pay 15 million yen and accrued interest over a five-year period to the victim.
In June 2010, Hashimoto, was arrested for allegedly defrauding the 45-year-old plaintiff, a resident of Tokyo, out of 4 million yen in a fictitious transfer of rights to lottery ticket sales booths. Hashimoto is still on trial.
In December 2003, the plaintiff loaned 15 million yen to the New Lottery Service, for which Hashimoto was a managing director. “Komiyama was there and said, ‘Since I am here to act as an overseer there is nothing to worry about,’ the plaintiff said. “She guaranteed the return of the loan in full. She even signed on as a co-signer. With her father (Jushiro Komiyama) being a former posts and telecommunications minister, I trusted her words.”
During the trial, Komiyama denied using her registered stamp and placing her signature on the documents. The court, however, concluded otherwise.
After the due date for the loan arrived, the plaintiff asked for the payback of the 15 million yen. Hashimoto, however, repeatedly asked for more time. Finally, Hashimoto said, “We cannot pay you back so we will transfer rights to sell lottery tickets. You will be able to generate income that way automatically.”
But the right to sell lottery tickets means transferring the ownership of a lottery ticket booth, which is prohibited by law.
Komiyama is best known for being one of “Ozawa girls,” a title that refers to the group of attractive female candidates dispatched to minor constituencies under the guidance of the DPJ’s scandal-plagued Secretary General, Ichiro Ozawa, for 2009’s lower house election. Komiyama was elected to the House of Representatives that year in Saitama District 7.
Shukan Asahi Geino speculates that the diet member’s political power was used as leverage in crafting the fraud. In the end, the plaintiff never received the promised lottery ticket rights.
“The brother kept collecting money from people even before the time he met the plaintiff,” says a Journalist who viewed the trial. “The total should reach two billion yen. According to the victims, he kept saying that things would turn around once his sister is elected.”
The writer adds that people associated with Komiyama said some money was allocated for her political activities: “Every time there was an election, talks centered around who will benefit from special rights.”
The verdict permits a seizure of Komiyama’s annual expenditures. Representatives of the plaintiff will file for repayment of the loan on February 10. (K.N.)
Source: “Minshuto Komiyama Yasuko Ozawa garuzu ‘sagi saiban’ de saihi sashiosaie,” Shukan Asahi Geino (Feb. 2, page 54)
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