Police in Hiroshima prefecture in western Japan have arrested a lawyer and business owner suspected of defrauding state grants to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Police say this is the first time a lawyer has been arrested for coronavirus grant fraud.
They say the lawyer, who is 47, and the businessman, who is 56, made fraudulent grant applications in 2020. Both allegedly claimed that the businessman’s company , a hotel operator, had suffered a drop in revenue due to the pandemic.
The two are suspected of defrauding the state out of grants worth around $15,000.
The two are also suspected of fraudulently receiving another state grant worth approximately $29,000 in the same year. The grant aims to help businesses affected by the pandemic pay their rent.
Police did not reveal whether the two admitted to the allegations, citing the possible impact on the investigation.
The Hiroshima Bar Association said the lawyer was sentenced to a month-long ban last month in a separate case. The association says he received compensation for a legal consultation that was supposed to be free.
The association says it sanctioned the lawyer because he did not respond to its investigation into the case.