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.


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


毎日新聞 2011年12月9日 東京朝刊

Leading Anti-death penalty attorney found guilty.

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)


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

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.


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