03 Nov 2021 8:08 PM +00:00 UTC

Founder of Anime Studio Behind Demon Slayer and Fate Franchise to Face 20-month Prison Sentence Over Tax Evasion

The founder of anime studio ufotable Hikaru Kondo may be facing a 20-month prison sentence related to the company’s ongoing tax evasion case.

click to enlarge

Anime News Network reports that Kondo has admitted to the charge during a preliminary hearing by the Tokyo District Court on September 17. He specifically violated both the Corporation Tax Act and Consumption Tax Act by failing to pay taxes amounting to 138 million yen (estimated USD 1.25 million.)

Advertisement

The prosecution claimed that Kondo led the company to commit accounting fraud repetitively when the company’s profits were high. Aside from this, they said that Kondo initially denied ufotable’s responsibility to pay taxes in good faith.

The Tokyo District Court has scheduled to announce the verdict on December 10.

The prosecution's opening statement said that both Kondo and ufotable hid a part of the company’s merchandise and café income from 2015 to 2018, amounting to 441 million yen (about USD 4 million). The reason for this was to buffet against possible downturns in the business. It was also reported that Kondo hid 30% of the anime-themed restaurant proceeds in Tokyo in a private safe in his home.

The company acknowledged the Tokyo Public Prosecutor’s Office’s indictment on July 9 and assured that the company had already paid the right amount and filed the correct tax return.

Ufotable was founded in 2000 and is notable for animating popular franchises such as Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Grand Order, and Demon Slayer. Their most successful production was the Demon Slayer anime film, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba MUGEN TRAIN, which topped various box office movie charts worldwide. Aside from their anime productions, ufotable also sells multiple merchandise as well as organize themed cafés.

Although the company continues to soar high due to their hit anime productions, the fate of ufotable and its founder is still hanging in the balance.