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Tuesday, 11 November, 1997, 11:58 GMT
Japanese police raid Mitsubishi, Toshiba headquarters

Japanese police searched the head offices of Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba on Tuesday for evidence linked to a widening racketeering scandal that led to the arrest on Monday of two top executives, Kyodo news agency reported.

It said police also raided the homes of the executives, Yoshiki Sugiura of Mitsubishi Electric's general affairs department and Takeshi Watabe of Toshiba's general affairs section.

Both are suspected of making payments of millions of yen to a so-called "sokaiya" corporate extortionist, Terubo Tei, since 1995.

Japan's Commercial Code bans companies from paying off such extortionists, who buy shares then threaten to disrupt shareholder meetings or disclose damaging information.

They also offer protection to keep meetings orderly.

Violators of the Code can be jailed for up to six months or fined a maximum of 300,000 yen.

The agency said police were also investigating Mitsubishi Estate, Hitachi and other companies said to have made large payments to Tei.

In a similar payoff scandal, four executives of Mitsubishi Motors were arrested in October on suspicion of paying more than nine million yen to Tei and another sokaiya gangster since 1995, Kyodo said.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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