Japanese police on Tuesday raided the home of a Tokyo 2020 Olympics board member who allegedly received money from a sponsor he signed a consulting contract with, local media reported.
Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, is suspected of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from major business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc., the “official partner” of last year’s mega event postponed due to the pandemic.
The Kyodo news agency reported that this could constitute bribery, as Takahashi was considered a quasi-government official who was not allowed to accept money or gifts related to his position.
This was reported by the Tokyo prosecutor’s office. AFP he was unable to comment on individual cases.
According to local media reports, the sports consulting firm run by Takahashi is suspected of taking money from Aoki under a contract signed in 2017.
In October 2018, Aoki became a Tokyo Games sponsor, allowing it to use the event’s logo and sell officially licensed products.
Takahashi told the Yomiuri Shimbun last week that the money his company received for consulting services.
“I didn’t have any conflict of interest with my position as a board member of the organizing committee,” he said.
Last week, Aoki issued a statement saying it does not comment on payment reports.
Takahashi, the former head of Japan’s largest advertising agency Dentsu, has been on the Tokyo 2020 board of directors since June 2014.
The organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics was dissolved last month.
Former Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto told reporters on Tuesday that she would “cooperate fully” with the investigation if directed to do so.
“Questions like this coming up after the fact are very disappointing,” she said.
“We must act in a way that does not tarnish what has been achieved even in a pandemic.”
This is not the first time questions have been raised about alleged rule violations during the Games.
French prosecutors have launched an investigation into allegations of corruption related to Tokyo’s bid to host the 2016 Games.
Former head of the Japanese Olympic Committee Tsunekazu Takeda resigned in 2019 as French authorities investigated his involvement in payments made before Tokyo won the tournament.
The French investigation focuses on payments to the Singaporean firm Black Tidings, which was linked to the son of disgraced former International Olympic Committee member Lamine Diack.
The Tokyo Olympics opened on July 23 last year after an unprecedented one-year delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The games were played in nearly empty stadiums after fans were banned due to a surge in virus infections in Japan.