Former JOC chief Takeda questioned over Tokyo Olympics corruption case

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Former Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, who served as vice-president of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Organizing Committee, was questioned by prosecutors on a voluntary basis over a corruption scandal of sponsorship booming, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Takeda, 74, was reportedly questioned as a witness, the source said. Prosecutors are seeking to establish a corruption case against Haruyuki Takahashi, a former organizing committee executive, who allegedly received money from two companies in exchange for helping them be selected as sponsors of the Summer Games. last year.

Prosecutors apparently asked Takeda how Takahashi became director of the now-defunct organizing committee, the source said.

Tsunekazu Takeda. (Kyodo)

The body was launched in January 2014, with Takeda as vice chairman and former prime minister Yoshiro Mori as chairman. Takahashi joined the committee in June 2014 as the last of its 35 directors.

Takeda and Takahashi are believed to be longtime acquaintances, both of whom graduated from Keio University, the source said, adding that they were both involved in Tokyo’s lobbying for the Summer Games.

Tokyo prosecutors also questioned Mori as a witness in connection with corruption allegations against Takahashi, a separate source said earlier.

“The JOC is not aware” of Takeda’s questioning, the committee said.

Takeda resigned as head of the JOC and vice-chairman of the organizing committee in June 2019 after being investigated by French prosecutors for alleged corruption linked to Tokyo’s successful bid for the Olympics. . Takeda led the bid committee.

Takeda is currently outside director of Tokyo-based parking services operator Park24 Co., a sponsor of the Summer Games, which was wanted by prosecutors in connection with corruption allegations earlier this month.

Takeda told reporters at the time that allegations of corruption surrounding the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were “very regrettable” as the sports community and athletes worked hard.

Takahashi, a former senior managing director of Japan’s largest advertising agency Dentsu Inc., was charged earlier this month with receiving bribes totaling around 51 million yen ($356,000) from of business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc.

He also received a new arrest warrant for allegedly accepting bribes totaling 76 million yen from major publishing company Kadokawa Corp.

In the case involving Kadokawa, prosecutors arrested Kazumasa Fukami, 73, another former Dentsu chief executive and acquaintance of Takahashi, for receiving a bribe from the publisher through a company board that he leads.

Prosecutors are also investigating Osaka-based Daiko Advertising Inc. in connection with a large sum of money paid to Takahashi.

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