The fate of ufotable and its founder is still at stake.
Ufotable animation studio founder Hikaru Kondo faces a 20-month prison sentence over the company’s ongoing tax evasion case.
Anime news network reports that Kondo admitted the charge in a preliminary hearing by the Tokyo District Court on September 17. He specifically violated both the corporation tax law and the consumption tax law by failing to pay taxes amounting to 138 million yen (estimated at $ 1.25 million).
The prosecution claimed that Kondo led the company to repeatedly commit accounting fraud when the company’s profits were high. Other than that, they said Kondo initially denied ufotable’s responsibility for paying taxes in good faith.
The Tokyo District Court is scheduled to announce the verdict on December 10.
The prosecution’s opening statement said Kondo and ufotable were hiding a portion of the company’s merchandise and cafe income from 2015 to 2018, amounting to 441 million yen (approximately $ 4 million). The reason was to fight against possible slowdowns in activity. It was also reported that Kondo had hidden 30% of the proceeds from the anime-themed restaurant in Tokyo in a private safe at his home.
The company acknowledged the indictment from the Tokyo prosecutor’s office on July 9 and ensured that the company had already paid the correct amount and filed the correct tax return.
Ufotable was founded in 2000 and is distinguished by the animation of popular franchises such as Destiny / Stay the night, Destiny / Grand Order, and Demon slayer. Their most successful production was the animated film Demon Slayer, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba MUGEN TRAIN, which topped various box office movie charts around the world. Besides their anime productions, ufotable also sells several merchandise and hosts themed cafes.
While the company continues to soar due to its blockbuster anime productions, the fate of ufotable and its founder is still in play.