Hidetoshi Tanaka, the disgraced former chairman of Nihon University’s board of trustees, was given a suspended sentence and fined 13 million yen ($105,000) for tax evasion.
On March 29, the Tokyo District Court convicted Tanaka of violating income tax law by concealing 118.2 million yen in income, which included alleged bribes, and dodging the tax payment of approximately 52 million yen.
His one-year prison sentence was suspended for three years.
Prosecutors had requested a one-year prison sentence and a fine of 16 million yen.
Tanaka pleaded guilty to the tax-related charges. But he did not explain his relationship to the multiple companies that allegedly paid the bribes and two suspects accused of embezzling funds from Nihon University.
Prosecutors had interviewed Tanaka as part of the breach of trust investigation, but said they found no evidence showing Tanaka was involved in the scheme.
According to the indictment, Tanaka hid 10 million yen in income in 2018 and 108.2 million yen in 2020.
During his trial, prosecutors said Tanaka and his wife took bribes from multiple university-related businesses through Tadao Inoguchi, a former university board member and close confidant. by Tanaka.
About 75 million yen, more than 60% of Tanaka’s hidden income, came from Masami Yabumoto, former head of the Osaka-based medical group Kinshukai, prosecutors said.
Inoguchi and Yabumoto were charged with breach of trust. They are accused of causing the university to lose around 420 million yen through shady dealings involving Nihon University’s Itabashi Hospital in Tokyo’s Itabashi district.
The loss stems from contracts with selected companies to rebuild the hospital as well as the purchase of medical equipment.
Yabumoto’s 75 million yen payment to Tanaka included “thanks” for those transactions to the hospital, prosecutors said.
In their closing arguments, prosecutors said Tanaka had already been told in 2015 that he had failed to report income, which forced him to amend his tax return.
They argued that this episode shows his “obvious lack of awareness of his duty to pay taxes”.
They also said that the public was strongly critical of Tanaka because he exploited his position as president of a large, prominent university operator to commit his crime.
Lawyers representing Tanaka requested a suspended sentence, saying he had no way of knowing about Inoguchi and Yabumoto’s breach of trust.
They also maintained that Tanaka “was not at all aware that he received part of the illegally obtained income”.
The dates for Inoguchi’s and Yabumoto’s trials have not yet been set.