[J-pop]Music producer Tetsuya Komuro arrested for fraud

小室哲哉容疑者「被害者に謝罪したい」

大阪地検特捜部は4日、806曲の音楽著作権を譲渡すると偽り、兵庫県の投資家から5億円をだまし取ったとして、詐欺容疑で音楽プロデューサー小室哲哉容疑者(49)ら3人を逮捕、東京都港区の自宅や事務所など関係先を家宅捜索した。

90年代に数々のヒット曲を生み出した小室容疑者は近年、事業の失敗や前妻への離婚慰謝料支払いで10数億円の借金を抱えていたという。

小室容疑者は調べに「3人でやったことに間違いない。申し開きすることはない。反省し被害者に謝罪したい。刑事責任を潔く取るつもりだ」と供述しているという。

ほかに逮捕されたのは、小室容疑者が役員を務めるプロダクション「トライバルキックス」(東京)の代表取締役平根昭彦(45)、監査役木村隆(56)の両容疑者。

特捜部の調べによると、小室容疑者らは06年8月、これまでの作品806曲分の著作権について、既に音楽出版社に譲渡し、うち主要12曲はト社に譲渡するなどしていたのに、「過去の作品806曲がフルセットになっていることに意味があるし価値が出る」「全部僕に著作権があります」などとうそを言って、10億円で売却する契約を兵庫県芦屋市の投資家男性と締結。さらに前妻に差し押さえられていた印税収入の権利について、解除する意思がないのに、解除代金として計5億円を支払わせ、だまし取った疑い。

5億円のうち1億5000万円は、小室容疑者の滞納家賃などを肩代わりした木村容疑者に、3億5000万円も融資金の返済に充当。

小室容疑者は投資家との交渉過程で「これでも名の知れた男。逃げも隠れもしない」と説得し、自ら作った曲を「世界で1つの曲」とCDにしてプレゼントしたという。

この5億円の支払いをめぐり、小室容疑者と投資家は民事訴訟で争ったが、08年7月、小室容疑者が6億円を支払うことで和解。しかし、解決金は期日までに支払われず、投資家が小室容疑者を大阪地検に告訴した。

[2008年11月4日20時8分]

[Nikkansports]

Famed producer and musician Tetsuya Komuro was arrested on Tuesday on charges of fraud. The high-profile case started back in 2006 when Komuro approached a private investor, offering to sell the copyrights of 806 songs he produced for the sum of 1 billion yen. The two reached an agreement, and the investor paid 500 million yen up front. He later learned that the rights to the songs actually belonged to Avex and other companies, not Komuro, so when he was unable to get his money back, he took the case to the authorities.

Komuro lost a civil suit in July and was fined 600 million yen, but he failed to pay by the deadline. The case was escalated to the Osaka District Court, which issued the warrant for his arrest. He was taken in by the police on Tuesday and was reportedly exhibiting remorse for his crime. Two employees of his event planning company Tribal Kicks were also arrested under suspicion of being accomplices in the fraud.

In recent years, Komuro has been plagued with debt due to failed business projects and alimony payments from his previous marriage to Asami Yoshida.

According to the law, Komuro faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, though one law professor was quoted as saying that fraud of 500 million yen will likely carry a sentence of 5 or 6 years, and as little as 3 years if the amount is properly repaid. However, another expert said that depending on the circumstances, an additional law may apply that could increase the maximum sentence to 15 years. He predicted that Komuro would be given 10 years in that situation, and as much as 8 years without it.

Komuro’s arrest has already prompted Avex to cancel the sale of two upcoming singles by the pop group globe, which includes Komuro and his current wife KEIKO. The group was set to release “Get Wild” on November 26 and “Self Control” on December 17, both covers of songs by Komuro’s earlier group TM NETWORK. In addition to canceling the CD releases, Avex is also halting all exposure for the songs.

[Tokyo Graph]

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