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Osaka prosecutors may question Sagawa over murky Moritomo land sale

National Tax Agency chief Nobuhisa Sagawa, center, heads to the finance minister's office to tender his resignation, at the Finance Ministry on March 9, 2018. (Mainichi)

The Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office is expected to consider questioning Nobuhisa Sagawa, who resigned as National Tax Agency chief on March 9, regarding the heavily discounted sale of state-owned land to school operator Moritomo Gakuen.

The move comes amid allegations that Finance Ministry documents on the deal were tampered with during Sagawa's stint as head of the ministry's Financial Bureau, which began in June 2016, shortly before the Kinki Local Finance Bureau concluded the sale.

According to sources familiar with the case, the prosecutors' office's special investigation unit has accepted complaints accusing Sagawa, 60, of damaging documents for public use by discarding records of government negotiations with Osaka-based Moritomo. The complaints also accuse him of concealing evidence of breach of trust by discarding the documents.

The Osaka prosecutors' office has furthermore received a criminal complaint against Kinki Local Finance Bureau employees on allegations of breach of trust, and has been investigating the matter.

Finance Minister Taro Aso told a March 9 press conference that he had instructed Sagawa to cooperate with law enforcers' investigations.

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