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Japan court finds consultant guilty of bribes in sprawling Tokyo Olympics trial

TOKYO (AP) – One of several Japanese officials charged in a widespread bribery scandal involving Tokyo Olympic organisers was found guilty yesterday but avoided jail time.

The verdict in Tokyo District Court for the former head of Amuse consulting company Joji Matsui, was the first for someone on the receiving end of the bribes from companies seeking sponsorships and licensing for the 2020 Games.

Matsui was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for four years.

Presiding Judge Kenji Yasunaga said the facts showed Matsui had allowed his company bank account to be used to disguise the transfer of funds to Haruyuki Takahashi, who, as an executive on the Japanese Olympic and Paralympic organising committee, wielded considerable influence in selecting sponsors.

Yasunaga said the bribes involved, totaling about JPY27 million (USD186,000), were significant and “the damage to public trust has been great”.

Matsui, who acknowledged guilt during the trial, remained silent and nodded. His defence had argued Matsui was just following orders from Takahashi. That and his expression of remorse were factors in the decision on a suspended sentence.

PHOTO: ENVATO
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