DAKAR – Papa Massata Diack, son of the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), has denied allegations that he received money from the Tokyo Olympic bid team through a Singapore bank account in return for helping Tokyo land the 2020 Games.
“I haven’t got any money,” Papa Massata said during an interview Saturday in Dakar.
He was speaking after French prosecutors launched an investigation into Tokyo’s bidding campaign over its payment of some 2.8 million Singapore dollars (around $2 million) to an account of a Singaporean consulting firm, which British newspaper The Guardian reported has a link to Papa Massata.
French prosecutors said Thursday they have confirmed there were huge outlays by Lamine Diack’s side in Paris around the time the money was transferred to Singapore. Lamine Diack, Papa Massata’s father, was an influential power broker within the International Olympic Committee.
Papa Massata described the man who heads the Singapore company, Ian Tan Tong Han, as someone who has been a friend since the two men first met at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. But Papa Massata said he did not know Tan’s company had been contracted by the Japanese bidding committee to perform work connected to its bid for the 2020 Games.
On Sunday, a man who lives at the address of the apartment identified as the business premise for Black Tidings, a company to which dubious payments were reportedly made by the Olympic bid committee in Singapore, said he is cooperating with Singapore police investigations on the case.
“Sorry, I cannot answer anything. I am helping the police with investigations,” the man told reporters.
He declined to confirm his identity when asked if he was Tan.
Japanese Olympic Committee Chairman Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed the bid team in 2013, said Friday that payments to the bank account in Singapore were legitimate expenses paid for contracted work by Tan’s consulting company.
The son of the disgraced athletics supremo said he had “no control” over the Singaporean company’s business. He added that he has dined with Japanese Olympic Committee members when he visited Japan but has never received money from the committee.
“I’ve been in this sports business for 25 years. I know the rules,” he said.
The interview was conducted in Dakar, with Papa Massata occasionally smiling. But he also exhibited caution, prohibiting a Kyodo News reporter from taking video and recording the interview and asking the reporter to turn off his mobile phone.
Papa Massata said Tokyo’s winning bid in 2013 over fellow bidders Istanbul and Madrid “shouldn’t be tarnished” as it was done “very fairly.”
He said Tokyo won with a huge lead over rivals and it did not need to engage in lobbying to win the race as his father would have supported Tokyo anyway. He also mentioned the names of Japanese corporate sponsors of the IAAF, such as Toyota Motor Corp. and TDK Corp., affectionately.
Papa Massata displayed confidence that the French authorities’ investigation will conclude he was not involved in any illicit act. “Let them investigate. … I have nothing to hide.”
Papa Massata also criticized a report in January from the independent committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency that accused the Diacks of involvement in a conspiracy related to a Russian athletes’ doping scandal, saying it was “full of lies.”
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