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  • Ex-head of scandal-hit school operator, wife arrested over subsidy fraud

    Ex-head of scandal-hit school operator, wife arrested over subsidy fraud
    Today 06:55 am JST 0 Comment

    The former chief of a school operator at the center of a scandal involving its discounted purchase of state land was arrested with his wife Monday for allegedly fraudulently receiving public subsidies for its school businesses.

    The special investigation squad of the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office arrested Yasunori Kagoike, 64, former chief of Moritomo Gakuen, and his wife Junko, 60.

    The couple came into the spotlight over the school operator's purchase of the state land in Osaka to build an elementary school, of which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife Akie was named honorary principal.

    But Akie Abe resigned from her post after the controversial land deal was revealed. The possibility that she and the prime minister were connected with the deal recently came under parliamentary scrutiny. Abe has denied he or his wife played any role in it.

    Prosecutors questioned the Kagoikes earlier Monday after quizzing them for the first time last Thursday. Yasunori Kagoike denied any wrongdoing. The couple plan to keep silent, according to people close to them. His wife served as a senior official at schools run by the operator.

    The special investigation team in Osaka launched a probe into the Kagoikes after receiving a complaint in March that the school operator unlawfully secured state subsidies worth about 56 million yen ($505,000) related to the construction of the elementary school in the city of Toyonaka.

    Moritomo Gakuen gave up on opening the school following the scandal and Yasunori Kagoike stepped down as head of the school operator in March.

    In applying for state subsidies for construction of the elementary school, Moritomo Gakuen submitted a document showing building costs totaled around 2.38 billion yen. But it is suspected costs were padded to obtain increased subsidies, investigative sources said.

    The school operator in March returned the 56 million yen it received in subsidies for the elementary school, but prosecutors believe the couple behaved deliberately and maliciously in securing the funds.

    The former company chief also faces another criminal complaint filed in May that he swindled around 62 million yen in subsidies between fiscal 2011 and 2016 from Osaka Prefecture for a kindergarten in the city of Osaka. In June, the prosecutors raided sites linked to the school operator.

    The prosecutors' office intends to build a case over the alleged fraud involving the kindergarten as well, the sources said.

    Regarding the controversial land deal, Moritomo Gakuen was found to have acquired the 8,770-square-meter plot in June last year for 134 million yen, roughly 14 percent of its appraised value, following negotiations with the Finance Ministry's local bureau.

    Officials of the ministry's Kinki bureau have been accused of breach of trust in the murky land deal.


    This article was originally published in forum thread: Ex-head of scandal-hit school operator, wife arrested over subsidy fraud started by EastBound88 View original post

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