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Ex-Your Party chief faces criminal complaint over unreported loans

June 1, 2014

Civic group members on Monday filed a criminal complaint against former Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe over a financial scandal that led him to resign from the head of the minor opposition party, sources close to the matter said.

In the criminal complaint, the Osaka-based civic group, which checks the movement of political funds, focused on 500 million yen Watanabe borrowed prior to the 2012 lower house election from Yoshiaki Yoshida, chairman of cosmetics firm DHC Corp.

According to the complaint, Watanabe borrowed the money as political funds for Your Party in November 2012, but only 250 million was allegedly registered for political funds.

The remaining money was not included in Watanabe's report on his election campaign expenses and the civic group members insist that he violated the public offices election law if he borrowed the money for his own election campaign.

Watanabe borrowed 800 billion yen in total from Yoshida -- ahead of the 2010 House of Councillors election and the 2012 House of Representatives election.

Watanabe has so far denied the illegality of his acts, saying that the loans were used to "collect information to expand the party's strength."

In an in-house investigation, Your Party has also concluded that the loans were not used for Watanabe's election campaign and denied that he violated the public offices election law or political funds control law.

Watanabe is a high-profile politician who founded Your Party with four others in 2009 with the aim of reforming Japanese politics after leaving the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in 2008.

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Source: Japan Economic Newswire

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