Japanese lawmakers covertly combined leftover money from ticket sales.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has been informed by individuals affiliated with lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Abe faction that there were occasions when the lawmakers collectively gathered surplus cash from party ticket sales, surpassing the specified quota, without informing the faction. This undisclosed income is suspected to be a part of the faction’s earnings, consistent with the kickbacks received by lawmakers from the faction. Investigators believe that the amount of unreported funds could potentially be higher.

The faction, previously led by the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the members themselves are suspected of omitting quota-exceeding kickbacks from party ticket sales. The total amount of unreported funds is estimated to be around ¥500 million over the last five years. On the grounds of suspected violation of the Political Funds Control Law, the faction’s offices were raided by investigators who seized numerous items.

Sources have revealed that individuals linked to lawmakers of the Abe faction, also known as Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyukai, explained to the prosecutors’ squad that the lawmakers only contributed their official quota to the faction while secretly uniting the surplus money in their offices, excluding it from political fund reports. It is alleged that some lawmakers pooled several million yen over the course of five years. The investigators are expected to look into whether the lawmakers indeed pooled cash and, if so, how it was utilized.

Unlike kickbacks, pooled money is not documented in the LDP’s factions’ financial records. However, the prosecutorial squad argues that such funds should have been documented as factional income because it stemmed from faction-related activities. The unreported income and expenses of the Abe faction are estimated to be around ¥1 billion, but this figure could potentially be significantly higher if the pooled money is taken into account.

A source connected to a lawmaker who acknowledged pooling surplus funds stated, “We regarded the money as a reserve fund in case we did not meet the party-related event quota in the following years.” The investigation into this matter is ongoing, and it is anticipated that further revelations may shed light on the full extent of the undisclosed funds and how they were managed.

The probe into the Abe faction’s financial affairs has stirred significant speculation and concern regarding the transparency and accountability of political funding. The involvement of high-profile lawmakers and the magnitude of the unreported income have raised questions about the integrity and ethical conduct of the faction. The legal implications and potential ramifications of these findings remain to be determined as the investigation progresses.


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