SINGAPORE – A Singaporean man linked to Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Olympics was sentenced to a week in jail Tuesday for lying to officers from Singapore’s anti-corruption agency who are investigating his company’s shady financial transfers.
Tan Tong Han, 35, owner of the now-defunct Singapore-based consultancy firm Black Tidings, was found by the court to have lied to Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau officers who were probing the firm’s money transfers in 2015.
Tan had been charged in court in February last year at a time when media speculation was rife about his firm’s alleged links to Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and to an extortion and doping scandal involving Russian athlete Liliya Shobukhova and the International Association of Athletics Federations.
After a yearlong series of closed-door hearings, he formally pleaded guilty at Tuesday’s court session, which was finally opened for media coverage, and was swiftly sentenced.
Details revealed in court showed that Tan enjoyed a close relationship with Papa Massata Diack, a Senegalese national and a former marketing consultant for the IAAF. He is the son of disgraced former IAAF President Lamine Diack, a Senegalese businessman, sports administrator and former athlete who is the subject of numerous investigations into corruption during his 1999-2015 tenure as the association’s chief.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue told the court that the junior Diack had instructed Tan to issue an invoice for a sum of 547,819.53 Singapore dollars (about ¥43.97 million) to his firm Pamodzi Consulting for work done by his company.
On the same day, Pamodzi Consulting wired the money to Black Tidings.
Soon after, Tan carried out Diack’s order for him to transfer almost all of that money to Igor Shobukhov, husband of the Russian distance runner who was involved in the doping scandal.
Tan “issued an invoice even though no such work was carried out,” Jiang said.
In November 2015, Tan admitted to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau that he had earlier lied to its officers when asked about the transfers. He told the bureau that Diack had instructed him to say he was tricked into transferring the funds if interrogated by Singapore investigators.
The investigation bureau had said in May 2016 in response to an email enquiry from Kyodo News that it was working with French authorities when asked about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid issue.
Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, who headed the 2020 bid committee, had said in a statement in 2016 that payments of S$2.8 million to a Black Tidings bank account were legitimate expenses paid for contracted consultancy work by him.
However it has recently come to light that Takeda has been under formal investigation by French prosecutors for suspected corruption in connection with Tokyo’s successful bid to host the Summer Games.