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False compensation claims with insider's help?

February 27, 2016

TEPCO insider helped cook up false nuke crisis compensation claims: ex-NPO exec



An ex-NPO executive accused of making false claims for nuclear crisis compensation has testified in his trial that someone inside Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) provided instructions on how to make the claims, it has been learned.

Kazuaki Shindo, a 44-year-old former senior executive at Nakano Ward, Tokyo-based NPO "Higashinihon Daishinsai Genshiryoku Saigaito Hisaisha Shien Kyokai" (support association for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster), made the statement at the Tokyo District Court on Jan. 25. Shindo is on trial for allegedly conspiring with an event management company in Fukushima Prefecture around April 2012 to extract about 12 million yen in compensation from TEPCO through a false claim for sales lost due to the nuclear disaster.

The NPO is accused of acting as a compensation claim agent for companies posing as victims of the nuclear disaster. Hiroshi Murata, 57, another former senior official of the NPO who was arrested and indicted with Shindo, was given a nine-year prison sentence on Feb. 15.

Shindo testified he was told by Murata, "If (the TEPCO employee) checks your documents and you then submit a perfect application, your claim will go smoothly."

According to Shindo's testimony, the TEPCO employee was a friend of Murata's, and he taught Shindo how to fill in the compensation claim forms. Shindo said that when a false claim was paid out, the NPO would give the insider a cut.

Shindo provided specific examples of the advice given to him by the employee, such as, "Subcontractor companies should apply for compensation individually." He also said there was at least one case where the NPO paid the insider a 5 percent cut of the compensation money. When a prosecutor asked, "What was the payment for?" Shindo said, "I think it was for the information provided and the quality of the instructions."

At the trial, the TEPCO employee was referred to only by the pseudonym "Yamazaki." Shindo said he had not met Yamazaki in person, and that he was told by Murata that Yamazaki joined the scam because, due to personal matters, his salary alone was insufficient. He also said that he gave Yamazaki's mobile phone number to investigators.

Shindo's lawyer told the Mainichi Shimbun, "The insider must have existed. The claims actually went through, and unless (the insider) was someone of significant standing, they could not have pulled this off."

A representative for TEPCO's public relations office said, "We reserve comment on individual testimony, but we will cooperate earnestly with the authorities."

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