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The scandal that never dies

By Zach Arnold | November 22, 2006

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By Zach Arnold
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No, the title of this post isn’t referring to the PRIDE vs. Shukan Gendai yakuza allegations war of words. We’re talking about the infamous K-1 corporate tax scandal under the tenure of Kazuyoshi Ishii.

Two stories today (Sankei Sports and Kyodo News) talk about a ruling that an appellate court issued on Tuesday, rejecting an appeal made by Ishii to try to avoid jail time (he was sentenced to 1 year, 10 months in prison).

The quick summary for those who don’t know about the K-1 tax evasion scandal: Kazuyosh Ishii (matchmaker and boss of K-1, currently age 53) was arrested and accused of concealing 900 million yen in income and evading up to 300 million yen. Ishii worked with (now formerly) licensed tax accountants from Itoman Co. Ltd. who prosecutors charged with assisting in the tax fraud. K-1 itself was levied with a 70 million yen fine for the corporate tax evasion. One component of the accused tax fraud revolved around a Bangladesh man being charged with creating a fake contract between K-1 and Mike Tyson (with the intent of paying out money via this fake contract to avoid paying taxes to the Japanese Government). This scandal started garnering major headlines in December of 2002 (right around the time of the promotion’s annual year-end Tokyo Dome show). As Ishii was going through the tax evasion trial, he showed up at K-1’s Las Vegas event (the show where Bob Sapp and Mike Tyson had an in-ring encounter). The show was broadcasted on Fuji TV, and Ishii’s face could be visibly seen on camera. This angered the main judge that oversaw the trial in Japan. Sadaharu Tanigawa ended up officially replacing Ishii as the promotion’s face in terms of matchmaking.

Techno Goliath not fighting for K-1 at the Tokyo Dome

Meanwhile, another interesting developing story (this time being reported by Joong Ang Ilbo) is that the reason Choi Hong-Man was pulled from K-1’s 12/2 Tokyo Dome card is due to a contract/money problem. Hong-Man was scheduled to face Ray Sefo in a GP reserve match, but instead will now be replaced by Melvin Manhoef.

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