Tokyo trial begins for ex-legislator accused of illegally negotiating loans

The trial of a former Japanese lawmaker suspected of illegally negotiating government loans for several companies is due to begin in Tokyo District Court on Monday.

Toyama Kiyohiko, 52, was a lawmaker from the ruling coalition partner Komeito. He was once Minister of State for Finance.

Toyama and three other people have been charged with illegally negotiating loans from the government-run Japan Finance Corporation to businesses. They were not registered to operate a money lending business.

The loans are part of a program to help struggling businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sources say Toyama intends to plead guilty to the charges when the trial begins in Tokyo court on Monday.

Prosecutors say Toyama asked two of his secretaries to introduce the business finance company’s loan officers. They say Toyama negotiated loans more than 100 times between March 2020 and June 2021.

Sources say Toyama told prosecutors he received a total of around 10 million yen, or about $86,000, as a reward for his lobbying efforts.

Prosecutors searched some locations last August. A consulting firm run by Toyama and the offices of his former secretaries were among the locations examined.

Attention is focused on whether the lawsuit will reveal how the former lawmaker got involved in illegal loan brokerage and how he influenced lender decisions.

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