Japan to probe allegations of graft in bid for 2020 Olympics

IANSUpdated: Friday, May 31, 2019, 03:26 PM IST
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Tokyo: The Japanese government on Friday ordered the Olympic Committee and the Tokyo government to probe allegations that officials were bribed to support the country’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: “Prompt reviews by Tokyo and the JOC will allow us to determine the facts.”

Japanese Sports Minister Hiroshi Hase said authorities were cooperating with French prosecutors who were investigating the bribery and Tokyo expects a “thorough examination”, Efe news reported.

“Our intent was to conduct a bid without any wrongdoing. I still have no doubts about that,” Hase said when asked about the transactions that helped Tokyo win the bid to host the event.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the French prosecutor’s office said it has opened a probe into certain payments, amounting to around $2 million, allegedly made by the Tokyo organisation or entities close to it, into an opaque account linked to the International Olympic Committee.

The French authorities in charge of financial crimes suspect there may be “corruption and money laundering” involved in these transactions from a Japanese bank between July and October 2013.

The beneficiary account belonged to the company Black Tidings, linked to Papa Massata Diack, son of former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack.

A report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in January showed that Diack and his sons, Papa Massata and Khalil, worked together with lawyer Habib Cisse, as marketing consultants for IAAF.

Diack, member of International Olympic Committee from 1999 to 2013, resigned in 2014 as IAAF head, following a scandal over having accepted bribes from Russian athletics federation to cover up the positive dope test results of some of their athletes.

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