JIADEP note: This case is a complete political farce, Attorney Yasuda, the leading voice in Japan against the death penalty, was jailed for vehemently defending suspects from Aum Shinri-kyo. For more information see my article:


The Yasuda Arrest: Criminal and Political Considerations

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Guilty verdict of anti-death penalty lawyer Yasuda finalized
(Mainichi Japan) December 9, 2011
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A guilty verdict against a well-known anti-death penalty lawyer for advising his client to conceal income has been finalized after the Supreme Court rejected appeals both from the accused and from prosecutors seeking a stiffer sentence, legal sources said Thursday.
Turning down the appeals on Tuesday, the third petty bench of the top court upheld the Tokyo High Court's ruling that fined Yoshihiro Yasuda, 64, 500,000 yen for conspiring with the president of a Tokyo-based real estate company to hide some 200 million yen in rental income by directing tenants of two buildings in Tokyo to pay their rent to dummy companies between 1993 and 1996, the sources said.
The company was a major borrower from two now-defunct "jusen" housing loan companies and the president and his son have been indicted on charges of concealing the income to prevent a government-backed loan recovery body from seizing it.
While prosecutors had sought a two-year prison term for Yasuda for obstructing the compulsory seizure of the rental income, the Tokyo District Court acquitted him in December 2003, ruling that the advice he gave to the company was intended to help it survive and that he did not intend to hide the company's assets.
The high court scrapped the lower court ruling in April 2008 and ordered Yasuda to pay the fine, saying that it was "malicious" to advise on skilful ways to obstruct the compulsory seizure.
Meeting reporters on Thursday, the defense counsel for Yasuda read out a letter in which his client claimed that prosecutors had forged evidence and that, "regrettably, " the court had failed to discover this.
Known as the chief defense attorney for AUM Shinrikyo founder Shoko Asahara, 56, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, Yasuda also took on other high-profile capital cases, including one in which a man was accused of killing a woman and her daughter in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, when he was a minor. Both Asahara and the man were sentenced to death.

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東京・不動産会社の資産隠し:強制執行妨害、安田弁護士の有罪確定へ 上告棄却
 ◇罰金刑、資格は維持
 経営難に陥った顧問先の不動産会社の資産約2億円を隠したとして強制執行妨害罪に問われた弁護士、安田好弘被告(64)の上告審で最高裁第3小法廷(那須弘平裁判長)は6日付で、被告と検察双方の上告を棄却する決定を出した。1審無罪を破棄して罰金50万円とした2審・東京高裁判決(08年4月)が確定する。弁護士法は、禁錮以上の刑が確定した場合は弁護士資格を失うと定めているが、罰金刑にとどまったことで、弁護士資格は維持される。
 裁判官5人中4人の多数意見。田原睦夫裁判官(弁護士出身)は「被告が会社側の犯意を認識していたとする点に、合理的な疑いが払拭(ふっしょく)できない」と述べ、無罪にすべきだとの反対意見を述べた。
 安田弁護士は93年3月~96年9月、顧問先の不動産会社社長=懲役1年6月、執行猶予3年が確定=らと共謀し、同社所有の賃貸ビル2棟のテナントに対し「賃貸人が代わった」などと装ってテナント料計約2億円をダミー会社2社に振り込ませ、これらの賃料債権への強制執行を妨げたとして起訴された。
 無罪を言い渡した1審・東京地裁判決(03年12月)は「アンフェアな捜査だった」と捜査を批判。一方、2審は逆転有罪としつつ、共謀を否定してほう助罪にとどまると判断し、罰金刑を選択。被告、検察の双方が上告していた。【石川淳一】
 ◇死刑廃止運動、積極的に活動
 安田弁護士は第二東京弁護士会所属。死刑廃止運動のリーダー格として、死刑事件の弁護活動に積極的にかかわることで知られる。
 オウム真理教事件の一連の公判で、松本智津夫(麻原彰晃)死刑囚(56)の1審主任弁護人を務めていた98年、強制執行妨害容疑で警視庁に逮捕された。自身の刑事裁判の1審では、安田弁護士側は「松本死刑囚の弁護人として、検察側証人らに容赦ない尋問を行ったことへの攻撃」と疑問を投げかけた。逆転有罪となった2審判決に、安田弁護士は「捏造(ねつぞう)された証拠を採用し、検察のメンツを立てた」と批判を強めていた。

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東京・不動産会社の資産隠し:2審維持受け、安田弁護士「公正へ努力」
 顧問先の資産隠しを助けたとして、最高裁が強制執行妨害ほう助罪の成立を認めて罰金50万円の2審判決を維持したことを受け、弁護士、安田好弘被告(64)は8日、「(最高裁が)真実を見極める力を有していなかったことが残念でならない。今後も一人たりとも誤った司法の犠牲になることがないよう、公正公平な刑事司法の実現を求めて努力したい」とのコメントを出した。弁護団の岩井信弁護士は会見し裁判官5人のうち田原睦夫裁判官が「無罪とすべきだ」との反対意見を述べたことに「(有罪に)合理的疑いがあるということ。無罪とすべきだった」と批判した。
毎日新聞 2011年12月9日 東京朝刊

Leading Anti-death penalty attorney found guilty.
04/24/2008
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN


The chief defense lawyer for a man sentenced to death Tuesday for murders committed when he was a minor was himself found guilty in a separate case by the Tokyo High Court on Wednesday.

Yoshihiro Yasuda, chief defense attorney for the man who killed a woman and her daughter in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, nine years ago, was fined 500,000 yen for helping a client hide assets from debt collectors. The high court overturned a lower court's not-guilty ruling.

Yasuda, 60, a vocal opponent of the death penalty, was indicted in 1998 for obstructing compulsory seizure in a debt collection case.

At the time, Yasuda also led the defense team for Aum Shinrikyo founder Chizuo Matsumoto, who is now on death row.(IHT/Asahi: April 24,2008)

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Death-penalty foe fined by court
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Lawyer who prevented client's asset seizure claims case was aimed at silencing him

By JUN HONGO
Staff writer


The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling and fined lawyer Yoshihiro Yasuda ¥500,000 for obstructing compulsory seizures of the assets of his client by moneylenders between 1993 and 1996.

The court case has been closely watched because Yasuda, 60, is known as a prominent opponent of capital punishment who earlier led the defense for Shoko Asahara, founder of the Aum Shinrikyo cult.

He was also the chief defense lawyer for a man sentenced to death Tuesday for killing a 23-year-old woman and her 11-month-old daughter in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1999 — a controversial case that drew nationwide attention because the defendant was a minor at the time of the murders.

Yasuda's attorneys in the case against him had argued that the obstruction charges were concocted by prosecutors with a political motivation — as an attempt to intimidate the vocal lawyer and "silence the annoyance."

He immediately appealed to the Supreme Court.

In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Kohei Ikeda said Yasuda devised a clever scheme for his client — a bankrupt real estate company — to avoid income seizures.

Ikeda said Yasuda was merely an accomplice in the crime, but the judge described his advice as "malicious acts" which ultimately resulted in the obstruction.

"The defendant has continued to deny his involvement with a variety of excuses, and has shown no signs of self-examination," Ikeda said.

According to the verdict, Yasuda conspired with the real estate company's executives and advised them to ask tenants of its buildings to deposit rent in two dummy accounts. The act prevented some ¥200 million from being seized by moneylenders.

Tokyo-based Sun's Corporation Tokyo Ltd. was a major borrower from the failed "jusen" mortgage lenders. Yasuda acknowledged during earlier sessions of the trial that he tried to help his client escape asset seizures by relocating its rent income, but argued that his advice was within the boundaries of the law.

Yasuda and two executives from the real estate company were arrested in 1998 while the lawyer was heading the defense for Asahara's trial. He was held for approximately 10 months following the arrest.

Prosecutors alleged that the transactions were "clearly an attempt to obstruct compulsory seizure" and demanded a two-year prison term.

Yasuda's defense attorneys, however, countered that he was performing his job as a lawyer and advised his client to separate its leasing division accounts to secure jobs and payments for its workers.

"This verdict is extremely politically motivated," lawyer Makoto Iwai told reporters after the ruling. "I am very disappointed."

He said the decision will discourage lawyers from properly carrying out their jobs.

The Tokyo District Court in December 2003 acquitted Yasuda of the charges on the grounds that the lawyer's advice was justifiable and the intention was to help rebuild the failing company. The two executives meanwhile had their suspended prison terms finalized in March 2006.

Yasuda maintained his innocence throughout the trial, while approximately 2,100 lawyers registered as his defense attorneys to back his appeal.

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東京・不動産会社の資産隠し:安田弁護士、逆転有罪 強制執行妨害--東京高裁判決
毎日新聞 2008423日 中部夕刊


 経営難に陥った顧問先の不動産会社の資産計約2億円を隠したとして強制執行妨害罪に問われた弁護士、安田好弘被告(60)に対し、東京高裁(池田耕平裁判長)は23日、1審・東京地裁の無罪判決を破棄し、罰金50万円の逆転有罪を言い渡した。

 死刑廃止運動の中心的存在として知られる安田弁護士は、オウム真理教の松本智津夫(麻原彰晃)死刑囚(53)の主任弁護人だった98年12月に逮捕された。最近では山口県光市の母子殺害事件の主任弁護人を務め、元少年に死刑を言い渡した22日の広島高裁判決にも立ち会った。

 安田弁護士は、顧問だった不動産会社「スンーズコーポレーション東京リミテッド」(東京)の社長(72)=有罪確定=らと共謀し、93年3月~96年9月、ス社が所有する賃貸ビル2棟のテナントから賃料をダミー会社の口座に振り込ませ、計約2億円を隠したとして起訴された。東京地裁は03年12月、「不動産会社への助言に違法性はなかった」として無罪を言い渡し、懲役2年を求刑していた検察側が控訴した。

 控訴審で検察側は「賃料収入を債権者に取られないように確保することを不動産会社社長と話し合っており、強制執行妨害罪が成立する」として無罪判決の破棄を求めた。弁護側は「違法性のない会社再建構想を示しただけ」と主張していた。【伊藤一郎】