The president of Japan’s Olympic Committee، Tsunekazu Takeda، is under formal investigation in France for suspected corruption related to Japan’s successful bid for the 2020 Olympic Games، a French judicial source said on Friday، according to "Reuters".
French financial prosecutors investigating a multi-million dollar payment made by Japan’s bidding committee to a Singaporean consultancy questioned Takeda in Paris and he was placed under formal investigation on Dec. 10، the source told Reuters.
In Tokyo، Takeda said no improper actions such as bribery had taken place in connection with Tokyo’s bid، and that he had not been charged by French authorities.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said its ethics committee has opened a file on the case and would meet on Friday، adding that Takeda “continues to enjoy the full presumption of innocence.”
Under French law، a formal investigation means there is “serious or consistent evidence” implicating a suspect in a crime. It is one step closer to a trial، but such investigations can be dropped without going to court.
French investigators have led a years-long probe into corruption in athletics and in early 2016 extended their inquiry into the bidding and voting processes for the hosting of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Prosecuting judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke now suspects Takeda - a former Olympic showjumper، longstanding Olympics official and second cousin of Emperor Akihito - of paying bribes to secure his nation’s winning bid، the judicial source said.
Takeda، who also heads the IOC’s marketing commission، apologized for “the huge worries that have been brought to the people of Japan، who have given so much support to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics...”
“In order to put every doubt to rest I intend to continue cooperating with investigations،” he said.