'Shukan Shincho' digs up alleged dirty money used to build AKB48, office48 threatens tabloid with lawsuit
On September 13th, the weekly tabloid 'Shukan Shincho' released its latest issue with the big controversial headline "The puppeteer's alchemy. A study of this generation's favorite child Akimoto Yasushi". It seems like they hit upon some dirt, as this is only the first part of a serial story.
The first part is titled "The bank transfer scam money that built AKB48!" and takes a closer look at the origin of the idol group AKB48. The group is administered by the entertainment agency AKS, which stands for [A] Akimoto Yasushi, [K] Kubota Yasushi, and [S] Shiba Koutarou, who were the 3 men that created AKB48.
According to the tabloid, Shiba Koutarou was involved in various dubious activities to make some easy money in the past, including bank transfer scams, and underground casinos.
Shiba established the management agency 'office48' which currently manages a couple of the group's girls, back in July of 2004. The '48' actually stands for 'shiba' and evidently played a huge part in naming the new idol group 'AKB48' later on. Then the recruitment for the AKB48 members began in July of 2005, using the 'office48' as the contact window for the audition. After that, AKS was established in January 2006, setting Kubota as the president. Due to Shiba's collaboration in the creation of AKB48, they're giving assumptions that a lot of that dirty money was used in the process as well.
Akimoto was directly asked about those accusations and answered, "I have no knowledge that Shiba has such a past, but when I asked him about it, he told me that 'Nothing of that is true and I can prove it.', and Shiba is no longer involved in AKB48 anyway." He continued, "If he was involved in such activities and I had knowledge of this, I wouldn't have worked together with him in the first place." As Akimoto said, Shiba denied that he was involved in the alleged illegal businesses, through his lawyer.
That pretty much sums up the first part of this serial story. It seems like the story is based on nothing but serious yet groundless accusations. office48 thinks the same way and immediately released an official statement.
In the statement they accuse the tabloid of defaming their representative director and the damaging the credibility of AKB48 with completely groundless information. Quote: "We are strongly objecting the article and are demanding for a withdrawal of the story and an apology by Shinchosha, the publisher of Shukan Shincho. We also plan to take legal action."
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Source: office48 (pdf), Shukan Shincho
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