Olympics 2020 is still far into the future and yet, it already is racking up an issue. French authorities are currently investigating a $2million (AU$2.8 million) payment made by Tokyo Olympic Committee for their Olympic bid.
The payments in question were labelled as “Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Bid,” The Guardian reports. The payment came from a Japanese bank and ended up in Singapore. It was then received by consulting firm Black Tidings. The firm’s owner, Ian Tan Tong Han has been linked to former Olympic official Papa Massata Diack. Diack has since been accused of bribery, money laundering and corruption.
Papa Massata Diack is said to have received payments for Tokyo Olympic bid. However, Yahoo Sports reports that Diack has denied receiving any money. He has said that he is willing to let the prosecutors investigate.
Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda has clarified that the monies paid were legitimate consulting fee.
“The amounts paid were in our opinion proper and adequate for the services provided and gave no cause for suspicion at the time. This message was conveyed to the IOC when these allegations first surfaced after a request for information from the IOC,” Takeda said in a statement.
The consulting fee paid included services for the bid planning and international lobbying advice among others.
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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told media that Japan will give its full cooperation regarding the investigation.
“I have instructed the education and sports minister to fully cooperate in the investigation,” the Prime Minister told Parliament, Daily Mail notes.
The bribery allegation is the most recent in the string of issues that hounded Japan for its Olympics 2020 bid. After rejecting the controversial and expensive Olympic stadium plan made by Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma then came under fire for allegedly copying Zaha Hadid’s stadium design.
The initial 2020 Olympic logo was also replaced after accusations of plagiarism were raised against Kenjiro Sano.