Home USA News Japanese investigators have raided Dentsu, expanding their Olympic investigation

Japanese investigators have raided Dentsu, expanding their Olympic investigation

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TOKYO (AP) – Japanese prosecutors raided the headquarters of advertising giant Dentsu on Friday as a corruption probe into the Tokyo Olympics widened.

Major local broadcasters showed Tokyo district attorneys and officials from the Japan Fair Trade Commission entering Dentsu’s headquarters.

Dentsu dominates events, marketing and public relations in Japan. It helped organize the 2020 Games in Tokyo and then set up record domestic sponsorship.

Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Dentsu executive, has been arrested four times in recent months on charges of accepting bribes from various companies that sponsored the Games.

According to Japanese media reports, the latest investigation focuses on bid-rigging for the test events. Test events began in 2018 and covered a variety of sports, including sailing and weightlifting, in preparation for the Olympics. Being selected for test events is critical to being selected for actual Olympic venues.

According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper and other reports, the money that changed hands in the bid-rigging was ¥500 million ($3.6 million), involving nine companies and one organization.

Among the companies involved in the earlier sponsorship scandal are Aoki Holdings, the clothing company that dressed Japan’s Olympic team, and Sun Arrow, which made the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics mascots Miraitova and Somiti.

Takahashi, who has been in custody since August, had a huge impact on the Olympic Games. The amount of bribes he allegedly received is more than 190 million yen ($1.4 million).

Dentsu did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Cerespo, the events company that Japanese reports said was also raided on suspicion of involvement in the rigging, had no immediate comment.

The Tokyo prosecutor’s office does not comment on daily news events. But Deputy Chief Prosecutor Hiroshi Morimoto recently told reporters that the investigation into the Olympics is ongoing.

Speculation is mounting that the growing scandal could tarnish Japan’s bid to host the 2030 Winter Games. The 2020 Games were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The International Olympic Committee said it was following Japan’s investigation, stressing that “everyone is interested in a full investigation into this case.”

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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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