Kentaro Sonoura. (Kyodo)

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Kentaro Sonoura has told prosecutors he was aware that funds raised via political fundraising were underreported, sources close to the matter said Thursday, in a reversal of an earlier denial.

Sonoura, 50, who was questioned by the prosecutors on a voluntary basis on suspicion of underreporting some 40 million yen ($295,000), admitted that he had been informed by one of his secretaries about it, the sources said.

The fifth-term House of Representatives member, who has served as an adviser to the prime minister, told reporters last month he was unaware of the underreporting.

The secretary, who was questioned earlier this year, said Sonoura was informed, according to the sources.

The alleged fund misappropriation incident is the latest in a series of scandals involving lawmakers of the ruling party led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has been struggling with falling public support for his Cabinet.

The organization that manages Sonoura's political funds reported it had received 43.62 million yen from six fundraising parties held between 2018 and 2020. Sonoura heads the body, while the secretary serves as its treasurer.

A different support organization for Sonoura separately reported it had raised some 10 million yen through three parties held between 2017 and 2019.

The two bodies are suspected of underreporting by a total of around 40 million yen.

Related coverage:

LDP lawmaker questioned over underreporting political funds