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Ex-lawmaker Toshio Yamauchi arrested for embezzlement

Japanese police arrested former lawmaker Toshio Yamauchi on Sunday on suspicion of embezzling some ¥100 million from a joint company effectively co-headed by him.

The money was allegedly diverted by the 74-year-old former House of Councilors member to finance his private real estate purchases in the city of Kyoto and Higashikagawa, Kagawa Prefecture, around March 2019, according to Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department.

The joint venture was set up in April 2018 by Yamauchi, former state education minister, and a real estate investment company in Takamatsu, the capital of Kagawa, to buy and resell a hangar at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The real estate investment company provided funding to the joint venture, and Yamauchi and others engaged in hangar purchase and resale procedures.

In an interview with Jiji Press before the arrest, Yamauchi denied the embezzlement allegations, saying that the money in question was borrowed from the joint venture and that he planned to return it after making a profit.

Yamauchi was first elected to the Upper House under the ticket of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1998 and became state education minister in 2008. He left the LDP and retired from politics in 2010.

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