Kimihito Kamori convicted for his part in Hokkaido casino bribery scandal

In Japan and the former boss for local tourism firm Kamori Kanko Company Limited has reportedly been hit with a ten-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of attempting to bribe erstwhile government minister Tsukasa Akimoto.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the judgment against Kimihito Kamori (pictured) was the first to be passed down in connection with a high-profile corruption scandal that began late last year following Akimoto’s arrest over allegations he had accepted illegal inducements from Chinese sports lottery firm 500.com.

Eminent exponent:

Akimoto was reportedly serving in the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism when he allegedly began pocketing bribes in exchange for agreeing to support a plan that was to have seen the northern island of Hokkaido selected as the home for one of the nation’s coming trio of integrated casino resorts.

Covered costs:

The source reported that Kamori had been charged with conspiring to supply travel expenses for a trip Akimoto made to Hokkaido between September of 2017 and February of 2018 in hopes that the 48-year-old legislator would throw his considerable weight behind a proposed Hokkaido-based casino scheme from 500.com.

Damning decision:

In finding against Kamori on Friday, Tokyo District Court Judge Toshihiko Niwa reportedly declared that the 77-year-old defendant had ‘provided the most expensive room and the most expensive round-trip transportation for Akimoto and his family’ while moreover supplying the politician with ‘all-expenses-paid special treatment in terms of entertainment and all aspects of the trip.’ The ruling purportedly contained a proclamation that the offender had ‘also accepted intrusive information regarding integrated casino resort-related bills’ from the former minister.

Decisive deferral:

However, the judge reportedly suspended Kamori’s sentence for two years after stating that the defendant had ‘already resigned’ from his post at Sapporo-headquartered Kamori Kanko Company Limited and ‘is showing remorse.’

Proposed project:

Had the plan to bring an integrated casino resort to southern Hokkaido gone ahead, Inside Asian Gaming reported that Kamori Kanko Company Limited was to have spent approximately $500 million in order to expand its existing Rusutsu Resort development so as to host a gambling-friendly venue run by 500.com. This ski resort purportedly already regularly attracts upwards of 1.5 million visitors every year but was to have been additionally enlarged via the construction of a 1,300-room hotel in addition to sizeable conference and meeting facilities.