Former Executives of 500.com Earn Jail Time for Bribery Scandal in Japan

For quite some time, Tsukasa Akimoto has been under scrutiny due to accepting bribes in Japan from 500.com regarding integrated resort plans in the country. The House of Representatives member has been accused of accepting bribes from the Chinese company in exchange for IR licensing. The case continues to enter the limelight from time to time, and this week, it was revealed that two officials of the 500.com company appeared before a judge and were sentenced for their actions involving the bribes.

Two men from 500.com appeared in court back in October and have been given suspended sentences for their actions. Now, two more people have been sentenced in the case. Fumihiko Sato and Akihito Awaji were sentenced to 12 month and 14 months respectively. Both saw their sentences suspended for three years.

The first two men to receive sentencing were Katsunori Nakazato and Masahiko Konno. They were sentenced to 22 months and 24 months in prison for helping to complete the bribes to Akimoto for 500.com. The sentences were suspended for three years.

According to testimony, the two most recent individuals sentenced were found guilty of trying to bribe a witness in the case against the Representative. The goal was to pay the witness so that he would change his testimony. The prosecution in the case said that the two men were doing what Akimoto told them.

Unfortunately for Japan, the actions of Akimoto has set back the effort in the country to create a casino gaming industry. Opponents argue that legalizing casinos in the country will increase crime. With this incident happening involving government officials, only gives fuel to the fire for the opponent’s arguments.

For now, the IR projects have been put on hold. Partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but mainly due to the actions of Akimoto.    

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