Sunday , June 23 2024

Ex-Tokyo Olympics official held on alleged bid-rigging: media


Japanese prosecutors arrested a former senior Tokyo Olympics official over alleged bid-rigging, local media said Wednesday, the latest twist in a growing corruption scandal.

Tokyo prosecutors declined to comment on the reports, but local media published photos of police raiding the home of Yasuo Mori, who ran test events for the pandemic-postponed Summer Games held in 2021.

The Asahi Shimbun daily and other outlets said Mori, 55, was arrested over alleged violations of the anti-monopoly law.

Prosecutors reportedly accuse him of rigging a string of supposedly open competitive bids and limited tender contracts for Olympic events, worth a total of 40 billion yen ($305 million), local media said.

Mori and other officials involved in the alleged rigging reportedly created their own list of candidates for the events and bids went mostly in line with their choices. Most bids received a single tender, the Asahi reported.

Prosecutors are already investigating bribery allegations around the Games over claims a former Tokyo 2020 board member took money from companies in exchange for Olympic partnership deals.

The former official, Haruyuki Takahashi, has been arrested over the scandal, and in December, the former executive of a major clothing company admitted in court that he offered money to secure sponsorship rights, according to national broadcaster NHK.

The corruption scandal has cast a shadow over the northern city of Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics.

Officials there have stopped holding promotional events for the bid and plan a nationwide poll to gauge support.

The ballooning saga is not the first time questions have been raised over impropriety around the Tokyo Games.

The former head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, stepped down in 2019 after French prosecutors launched an investigation into corruption allegations linked to Tokyo’s Olympic bid.

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