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JOC chief questioned in bid probe on France’s behalf

Kyodo

At the request of France, Tokyo prosecutors have questioned Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda and others on a voluntary basis over allegations that dubious payments were made by the bid team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Takeda told reporters on Wednesday that during questioning last week he had told the prosecutors the same thing that he “has said so far,” indicating he denied any illegitimacy in the deal.

French authorities have been looking into the payments, which were made under contracts worth more than $2 million that Tokyo’s bid team signed with a Singaporean consultancy, Black Tidings, prior to winning the bid for the 2020 Games in September 2013.

Black Tidings is headed by Ian Tan Tong Hon, who is close to Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations President Lamine Diack.

The Tokyo team’s payments — more than double the average figure — were suspected to have been directed toward the elder Diack, who as a member of the IOC at the time had a vote in deciding the host city for the 2020 Games.

A Japanese investigative panel concluded last September that the payments were not illegal nor against the ethics code of the International Olympic Committee.

The panel’s report said the JOC’s payments were legitimate because Tan was in a position to gain access to secret information regarding the host city bid. The panel certified that the contract had yielded solid results.

The account that received the money also was used to transfer funds in the coverup of a Russian doping case, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency, and French authorities are investigating whether the money led to the elder Diack.

French prosecutors launched the investigation last May, suspecting corruption or money-laundering by an unknown person.