Tokyo Olympic official, 3 more detained in bid-rigging probe

TOKYO (AP) — A senior Tokyo Olympics organizing committee official and three business executives were arrested Wednesday in connection with an ongoing bid-rigging scandal linked to the Games.

Yasuo Mori, the Olympic official, was arrested along with Koji Henmi, who ran the sports division of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu. Two other corporate executives were also arrested for violating anti-monopoly laws, Tokyo district prosecutors said in a statement.

Prosecutors also investigated a separate corruption scandal centering on former Dentsu executive Haruyuki Takahashi, who was a member of the organizing committee.

Bid-rigging investigation typically involves the selection of venues for Olympic test events as well as the Games proper. This is a joint operation of the Japan Fair Trade Commission, which investigates violations of anti-monopoly laws.

Prosecutors said officials secretly accepted the offers in 2018.

Some of the contracts had only one bidder, according to Japanese media. Prosecutors say arrests in the bid-rigging scandal have just begun and may implicate more companies.

If convicted for violating anti-monopoly laws, individuals can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Sprawling corruption allegations surrounding Tokyo have led to the bid of the city of Sapporo in northern Japan being put on hold for the 2030 Winter Games. Sapporo was seen as the favorite before the scandal.

Salt Lake City is the only other known bidder that may consider taking 2030. Salt Lake officials have said they welcome a 2034 bid.

The Tokyo Games were postponed for a year and held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The official price is $13 billion, although a government audit suggests it could be double that.

Takahashi and officials from several other companies had already been arrested in connection with the corruption scandal. Plans for these trials are beginning. Takahashi was released on bail after being held for several months.

Among the companies implicated in the scandal involving Takahashi are Aoki Holdings, a clothing company that dressed Japan’s Olympic team; Sun Arrow, who produced Tokyo’s Olympic and Paralympic mascots named Miraitowa and Someity; and Kadokawa Group, publisher of the Games program and guides.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter


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