Paris, Jan 11 (IANS) Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda has been placed under investigation by French authorities for alleged bribes supposedly paid to African International Olympic Committee members to support the Japanese bid for the 2020 Olympics Games, French judicial sources said on Friday.
Takeda, considered to be the mastermind of the Japanese capital bid that prevailed over Spanish and Turkish bids in the 2013 vote, was interrogated in December 2018 by a French judge who has been investigating alleged irregularities over the past three years, the sources added, reports Efe news.
Takeda denies that he is under investigation or has committed any wrongdoing and has only acknowledged that he was questioned in December 2018 after being summoned by the French judge.
The French investigators associated with the inquiry into Takeda's behaviour allegedly tracked a 1.8 million euro ($2.08 million) payment by the Japanese to a company owned by Senegal's Papa Massata Diack, son of the then President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, according to Le Monde, the French daily newspaper.
This money was allegedly a bribe to convince Diack to lobby African IOC members to support the Japanese bid.
According to the investigators, Diack's son allegedly got the money through a Singapore-based company by the name Black Tidings.
A separate corruption case investigation into the Diack father and son triggered the probe into Takeda's alleged breach of conduct.
When first questioned in Tokyo in February 2017, Takeda confirmed the payment but was unable to justify it. The second questioning of Takeda, which took place on December 10, 2018, led to the present investigation of Takeda and the Diacks.