Demon Slayer Anime Studio Head Sentenced To Prison For 20-Months Over Tax Evasion Charges
Acclaimed anime studio Ufotable, best-known for the popular anime series Demon Slayer, seems to be in trouble these days. Founder & President of the company, Hikaru Kondo is facing serious charges over his tax evasion allegations.
On Friday, during the final court hearing in Tokyo District Court over the tax evasion allegations on the president of Ufotable, the court sentenced Kondo to imprisonment of 20 months in jail with a suspended sentence of 3 years and a fine of 30 million yen to the company.
The prosecution claimed that Kondo “directed the company to repeatedly commit accounting fraud when profits were high” and initially “denied the company’s responsibility to pay taxes in good faith.”
Ufotable tax scandal came into the limelight in March 2019 when a search was conducted in Ufotable’s office due to alleged tax evasions reports by some media sources. Next month, a report was issued which claimed that Ufotable owed a whopping 400 million yen (about US $3.52 million) in taxes.
In June 2020, the founder of Ufotable, Hikaru Kondo was charged under the violation of the Corporation Tax Act by failing to pay 139 million yen (about US $1.22 million) in taxes. Later on, the studio published a public statement as well apologizing for its actions.
After a formal indictment to Kondo in July 2021, the company assured it had already filed a corrected tax return and paid the appropriate amount due to tax corporates. But, that didn’t release the burden from Kondo’s shoulder.
In September 2021, Kondo admitted to the charge of violating the Corporation Tax Act and Consumption Tax Act by failing to pay 138 million yen (about US $1.21 million) in taxes at a preliminary hearing by the Tokyo District Court. During the same hearing, Kondo issued an apology, admitting that he thought his tax evasion would “not bring trouble to Ufotable”
The prosecution said in its opening statement that Ufotable and Kondo hid part of the income from the company’s cafes and merchandise from 2015 to 2018 in order to buffer against future downturns in business. The studio allegedly hid about 441 million yen (about US$3.88 million) in income.
And, now after a long court hearing the tax scandal case has finally come to an end. Luckily, this decision will not affect the franchise of Demon Slayer or the production staff of Ufotable. So, fans can rest assured that the future of this popular series and studio will be bright.
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