Lawyer, business owner in Hiroshima, arrested for fraud with coronavirus subsidies

Police in Hiroshima Prefecture in western Japan have arrested a lawyer and business owner on suspicion of cheating government subsidies for companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Police say this is the first time a lawyer has been arrested for fraud with coronavirus subsidies.

They say a 47-year-old lawyer and a 56-year-old businessman filed fraudulent applications for a subsidy in 2020. It claims that the company of the businessman, a hotel operator, suffered a drop in revenue due to the pandemic.

Both are suspected of state fraud from subsidies worth about $ 15,000.

Both are also suspected of fraudulently receiving another state subsidy worth about $ 29,000 the same year. The purpose of the subsidy is to help companies affected by the pandemic pay their rent.

Police have not disclosed whether they have admitted the charges, but it is alleged that they may have influenced the investigation.

The Hiroshima Bar Association says the lawyer was sentenced to a one-month suspension in a separate case last month. The association says he received a fee for legal advice, which was supposed to be free.

The association says it disciplined the lawyer for failing to respond to her investigation into the case.

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