Politicians probed for scandal link

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 1997, 12:00am

Japanese prosecutors are investigating the possibility of links between the gangster involved in the Nomura Securities/Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank (DKB) scandal and senior Japanese politicians, an investigator involved in the scandal says.

Several Japanese newspapers have also reported that the next phase of the investigation into the affair would examine the involvement of politicians.

According to the investigator, recently resigned DKB chairman Tadashi Okuda believed money being lent indirectly to self-confessed racketeer Ryuichi Koike was being passed on to a former prime minister.

Police are now trying to find out if money was passed on to the former prime minister or if Mr Okuda had been fooled, the investigator said.

The investigator brandished a copy of what he claimed to be a 10 billion yen (about HK$672 million) cheque with Mr Okuda's official chop on it. The cheque was made out to the 'bearer'.

DKB refused to comment on the allegations. Mr Okuda was not available for comment yesterday.

Katsuyuki Sugita, who is due to take over as president of DKB, said on Friday that Mr Okuda was aware that loans made to Koike's brother 'were of a dubious nature'.

Mr Okuda has not been questioned by prosecutors.

More facts about Koike himself have come to light. He inherited his position as chief sokaiya (racketeer) for DKB and Nomura Securities from Rikiya Kishima, according to several sources - including Hideaki Kubori, a lawyer who specialises in helping companies cut off their links with gangsters.

Kishima was a man with eclectic links to Japanese politicians, gangsters and extreme left-wing radical groups, the sources said.

His left-wing connections came from a magazine he owned.

Meanwhile, a new government agency will be created to police the country's financial sector, under a law passed yesterday by the Upper House of Parliament.

A fully independent agency will be set up under the Prime Minister's Office to inspect and supervise financial institutions - functions carried out in the past primarily by the powerful Ministry of Finance.

The new agency will oversee all financial institutions and will have jurisdiction over securities watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission.