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Anime Studio ufotable, Founder Hikaru Kondo Charged With Evading 139 Million Yen in Taxes

posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Lawyer: Kondo already filed corrected return, paid owed amount

The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Tokyo Public Prosecutors Office has charged the anime studio ufotable and ufotable's founder, representative director, and president Hikaru Kondo with violating the Corporation Tax Act and Consumption Tax Act by failing to pay 139 million yen (about US$1.28 million) in taxes.

The Mainichi Shimbun cited a source close to the investigation to report that Kondo purportedly hid about 30% of the proceeds from some of ufotable's anime-themed restaurants in Tokyo and stored them in a private safe at home. The reduced revenue was then allegedly altered on the company's ledger books for the years 2015, 2017, and 2018, concealing a total of 446 million yen (about US$4.11 million). The total owed amount in taxes is allegedly 110 million yen (US$1.01 million) in corporate tax, and 29 million yen (about US$267,000) in consumption tax. According to the newspaper's source, ufotable and Kondo supposedly used the unpaid tax money to fund the company's business.

A lawyer representing Kondo apologized to fans and the people involved on his behalf, and asserted that Kondo already filed a corrected tax return and paid the appropriate amount.

Bungeishunju's Weekly Bunshun Digital magazine reported in April 2019 that ufotable allegedly owes 400 million yen (about US$3.57 million) in taxes, citing a source from the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau. The report noted that ufotable is suspected of supposedly misappropriating funds raised from a charity auction for the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, a violation of the Penal Code that carries a potential prison sentence of no more than 10 years. The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau conducted a search of ufotable's offices earlier in March that year as part of an investigation, but did not end up filing charges.

Kondo eventually resigned from his role of chairman of the executive committee for Machi Asobi, the Tokushima event for which ufotable was once the main organizer, in May 2019.

Kondo founded ufotable in 2000, and the studio is perhaps best known for its recent Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba television anime, as well as the various anime adaptations of Type-Moon's Fate franchise, including Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. The studio is currently producing the Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel anime film trilogy, the third and final film of which has been delayed in its opening due to theaters closing in light of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The studio has also made anime adaptations of Type-Moon's The Garden of Sinners, and the Katsugeki: Touken Ranbu television anime.

In addition, the company sells merchandise and goods for the various anime it has produced, and runs a number of cafés through which it sells some of its merchandise.

Source: The Mainichi Shimbun via Otakomu

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