Japan ex-defense official convicted in bribery

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A Japanese court sentenced a former senior defense official to 2 1/2 years in prison Wednesday for accepting bribes in exchange for his recommendation in government arms contracts, a court official said.

Former Vice-Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya was also ordered to pay 12.5 million yen ($125,400) in penalties — the value of the gifts and entertainment he pocketed, the Tokyo District Court official said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

In his ruling, Judge Minoru Uemura said Moriya received golf trips, cash and other gifts when he was vice-defense minister 2003-2007, knowing that favorable treatment in contracts was expected in return.

According to a summary of the ruling published in Japanese newspapers, Moriya took golf trips worth about 8.86 million yen ($88,900) on 120 occasions from two defense trading companies led by Motonobu Miyazaki, a former executive of Yamada Yoko Corp. Moriya also accepted 3.64 million yen ($36,500) in cash gifts from Miyazaki and his two aides, paid into the bank accounts of his wife and his daughter.

Moriya, in return, recommended Miyazaki's companies in ministry procurement deals, including the 2004-2005 purchase of General Electric Co. C-X engines for next generation Japanese cargo aircraft.

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