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Tokyo Olympic bid draws allegations of $2 million bribery

By Gao Yinan (People's Daily Online)    08:43, May 19, 2016
Tokyo Olympic bid draws allegations of $2 million bribery
President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Jacques Rogge shows the name of the chosen city to host the 2020 Summer Olympics during the 125th IOC session, in Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, on Sept. 7, 2013. Tokyo won bid to host 2020 Summer Olympic Games. (Xinhua/Martin Zabala)

French financial prosecutors are investigating payments totaling $2 million made to a Singapore account from a Japanese bank, potentially in connection to Japan's successful bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Tokyo won the bid on September 7, 2013, becoming the fifth city (after Paris, London, Los Angeles and Athens) to host the Summer Olympic Games more than once. It is also the only city in Asia that has had this honor.

French prosecutors confirmed on May 12 that they are investigating allegations of “corruption and money laundering” involving more than $2 million, which is alleged to have been paid by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics bid committee to a bank account linked to the son of disgraced former athletics chief Lamine Diack.

The payments were labeled "Tokyo 2020 Olympic Game Bid." In the period between which the two transfers were made, Tokyo beat Istanbul by a vote of 60 to 36, winning the bid to host the 2020 Summer Games.

French media quoted the Guardian as saying that Diack initially supported the Istanbul bid, but after a Japanese sponsor signed a big contract with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), he changed his mind.

The former president of the Tokyo bid committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, broke his silence to admit that the payments of 222 million yen had been made in two segments on May 13, but insisted that the campaign was "at all times fair and correct."

He also said on May 16 that the Singapore consulting company is not a shell company, and he had no idea that the payment was in any way connected to Diack's son.

Kyodo News reported that Japan's Democratic Progressive Party has set up a special working group to investigate the case. DPP parliamentary affairs committee minister Jun Azumi said that if this suspicion of the French authorities turns out to be true, "it would be close to a crime, [and] will be vigorously prosecuted in Congress." 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Bianji)

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