Lower House member Ikeda, aide indicted in political funds scandal

Tokyo prosecutors have indicted Lower House member Ikeda Yoshitaka and his policy aide over falsified political fund reports.

The two were charged Friday for violating the political funds control law. The aide serves as chief treasurer for the lawmaker's fund management organization.

Ikeda was expelled from the Liberal Democratic Party after he was arrested early this month. He had belonged to the main governing party's largest faction. Late Prime Minister Abe Shinzo had formerly led the group.

Ikeda and his aide are accused of failing to declare kickbacks from the faction for selling fundraiser tickets in excess of his quota.

Prosecutors allege the unreported revenue reached more than 48 million yen, or about 330,000 dollars, in the five years through 2022. They say Ikeda's fund management organization should have declared the money as a donation.

Sources say both Ikeda and the aide are not responding to questioning. The sources say Ikeda is also suspected of attempting to destroy evidence. They say a different aide to the lawmaker has told prosecutors that Ikeda gave instructions to destroy a personal computer at his office. Prosecutors searched the office and other locations last month.

The indictment brings the number of people charged in the political funds scandal to 10. The eight others are current and former lawmakers and chief treasurers. One of them is a former treasurer for the faction previously led by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

Meanwhile, prosecutors announced on Friday that they have decided against indicting eight other senior LDP lawmakers, including executives of the Abe faction.

The eight were subject to a criminal complaint that they failed to report part of their political funds. Prosecutors say they lacked evidence to charge them.