The office for the financial crimes of France announced on Friday that it is investigating Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, for "active corruption" linked to the Tokyo Games in 2020, which start in just over 18 months . Takeda has yet to be formally charged with any charges, but a French judge has established that there is sufficient evidence to consider it a "formal suspect," according to Reuters.
Le Monde reports that the magistrate oversees a large-scale French investigation into sports corruption, Renaud Van Ruymbeke, suspects that the 2013 IOC vote that assigned Japan to the 2020 Olympics was spotted by behind-the-scenes agreements concerning payments to African members of the IOC, who then launched their support to the Japanese capital's offer. French public prosecutors have questioned Takeda about $ 2 million in payments made by Japan's revitalization committee to a consulting firm in Singapore called Black Tidings, which is led by a close ally of Pope Massata Diack, son of Lamine Diack, ex Senegalese president of the International Association of Athletics Federation.
Lamine Diack, who was head of the world governing body of athletics from 1999 to 2015, is facing a series of money laundering and corruption allegations in France and has also been accused of helping to influence the vote for Summer Olympics 2016 in Rio de Janeiro through corruption.
Takeda, who remains in Tokyo, has denied that he made a mistake in a statement released on Friday by the Japanese Olympic Committee. Japanese Olympic officials said payments to Black Tidings were legitimate consulting fees, but French officials are investigating whether the payments were actually bribes and that Takeda authorized them.
"I apologize for the huge concerns that have been brought to the people of Japan, who have given so much support to the Tokyo Olympics and [Paralympics]and in order to put any doubts on hold, I intend to continue to cooperate with the investigations, "Takeda said, according to Reuters.
In a separate statement, the International Olympic Committee declared that its ethics committee "has opened a dossier and will continue to monitor the situation". The ethics committee is scheduled for Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Associated Press reports that Takeda may be provisionally suspended from the Olympic service.
Japan's Olympic preparations have been plagued by massive cost overruns at a time when the IOC is looking for ways to make the Games less sluggish on the host cities. After initially forecasting that it would cost about $ 7 billion to organize the Olympics in Tokyo, an audit prepared by the Japanese federal government revealed that it would cost at least $ 25 billion, a sum exceeded only by spending on the summer games Beijing in 2008 ($ 45 billion) and the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 ($ 51 billion).
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