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Abe denies role in cherry blossom scandal that felled aide

Ex-PM says his camp funded supporter events without his knowledge

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with supporters at a cherry blossom viewing party. (Pool phot)

TOKYO -- Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday denied any knowledge of his office picking up the tab for lavish dinner parties held for his supporters in a scandal that has brought charges against one of his aides.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office that day brought a summary indictment against Abe's former aide Hiroyuki Haikawa for allegedly failing to report expenses related to the events in violation of the law governing political funds. Prosecutors had questioned Abe earlier but decided against bringing charges against him, citing a lack of evidence. 

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