Head of Japan Olympic Committee faces French corruption probe

Head of Japan Olympic Committee faces French corruption probe

The president of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, has been placed under formal investigation on corruption allegations in France.

Mr Takeda, who is helping to put together Japan’s 2020 Olympic Games, was placed under investigation last month on suspicion of “active corruption”, said a spokesperson for the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Mr Takeda said on Friday that he had not been indicted and that there had been no improper actions related to the 2020 Olympic bid. In the French legal system, a formal probe is generally launched before charges are filed.

The case is an extension of a 2016 French investigation into payments worth around $2m allegedly connected to Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

A first alleged payment in July 2013 and a second one three months later were made under the title of “Tokyo 2020 Olympic Game Bid” from a Japanese bank account to a Singaporean account held by Black Tidings, the French financial prosecutor’s office said in 2016.

Mr Takeda said he was cooperating with investigations by French authorities to clear the allegations and had taken part in a hearing regarding payments made by the Japanese bidding committee to Singaporean consultancy firm, Black Tidings.

“I have explained that the committee has done nothing wrong that would be regarded as bribery,” Mr Takeda said, adding the payments were legitimate consulting fees. “There was nothing new that was discovered during the hearing.”

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