Osaka prosecutors won’t charge ex-Kepco executives over gift scandal

The Osaka District Attorney’s Office’s special investigative team said on Tuesday it had decided not to indict nine former executives of Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kepco) over gift and salary scandals.

The nine include Shosuke Mori, 81, and Makoto Yagi, 72, both former chairmen of the regional power company which mainly serves the Kinki region in western Japan.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation after a civic group filed special breach of trust complaints in late 2019 and summer 2020, following disclosures that company executives received money and the property of a key official of a nuclear power plant housing the municipality and which retired executives had received secret remuneration.

Kepco’s third-party investigation group confirmed last year that 75 officials received money and property worth a total of around 360 million yen from the city’s former deputy mayor of Takahama, in Fukui Prefecture, which houses a nuclear power plant operated by the company.

The panel concluded that the former deputy mayor offered such gifts to have Kansai Electric place orders for construction work in return with companies close to him.

Kepco also spent 259 million yen to compensate retired executives for part of the pay cuts imposed during an economic crisis following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, as well as the triple merger of Fukushima n No. 1 of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. Nuclear Plant.

But Osaka prosecutors said they found no fraudulent construction orders or evidence powerful enough to overturn testimony from a former senior Kepco official that retired executives were paid fairly for the work. after retirement by the company.

“We have repeatedly considered (whether or not to indict the nine leaders) as the scandals have attracted public attention,” prosecutors said.

Frustrated by the decision not to charge, the civic group plans to request a review of the cases by a prosecution commission.

“We are determined that (the former leaders) finally face a binding indictment,” civic group attorney Hiroyuki Kawai said at an online press conference. “We want to reveal things that were not found in prosecutors’ lax investigation.”

Kepco said the company was unable to comment on prosecutors’ decision and hoped to steadily improve its business.

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