Japan

Prosecutors to build case against Abe’s aide over party spending

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japantimes– Prosecutors have decided to build a case against former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state-paid secretary for allegedly not reporting part of the costs of dinner parties his political group held for supporters, sources close to the matter said Thursday.

The secretary heads a group of Abe’s supporters that hosted the dinner functions on the eve of the government-sponsored annual cherry blossom-viewing parties, according to the sources.

 

The total bills for the parties held at two hotels in Tokyo exceeded ¥20 million ($191,000) over a five-year period through last year, far higher than the amounts collected from attendees, many of whom were voters in Abe’s constituency in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The prosecutors are investigating the case as a possible violation of the political funds control law.

They have found that the amount covered by the group totaled more than ¥9 million, said the sources. But the secretary did not properly record the expenditure in the group’s reports on political funds.

Abe, who became the country’s longest-serving prime minister before stepping down in September, has denied any wrongdoing after the scandal came to light in November last year.