Ufotable CEO Hikaru Kondo admitted to deliberately misreporting cafe and merchandise retailer gross sales numbers in the course of the first listening to regarding tax fraud allegations on the animation studio. Court paperwork cited the chance of a future enterprise decline as one of the primary causes behind Kondo’s actions. [Thanks, NHK!]

Kondo is being tried for evading 138 million yen (about $1.2 million) value of taxes. Kondo allegedly hid over 441 million yen (about $4 million) value of Ufotable cafe and merchandise gross sales from 2015 to 2018. On September 17, 2021, the CEO admitted to the allegations. He said that he “felt the company would not suffer if [he] evaded taxes,” providing an apology and heavy bow in courtroom.

Below is a translation of the prosecution’s opening assertion.

With the rise in reputation of the animation initiatives [Ufotable] labored on, and the success of its cafe and merchandise gross sales, [the defendant] repeatedly excluded parts of income in order to arrange for a future decline in enterprise and hold as a lot capital as doable to himself.

In July, Ufotable launched an official assertion concerning the tax fraud allegations. It apologized to followers and associated events for any inconveniences. Furthermore, the studio paid the complete quantity of evaded tax to the nationwide tax authorities. It additionally pledged to adjust to legal guidelines and rules in the longer term.

The animation studio’s work contains Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. Its work additionally seems in video games. It most just lately created the opening animation for Tales of Arise.