TOKYO ( Associated Press) — A senior official of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee and three business executives were arrested Wednesday in an investigation into bid-rigging related to the Olympics.
Olympic official Yasuo Mori was arrested along with Koji Henmei, head of the sports department of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu. The Tokyo district prosecutor’s office said in a statement that two other officials were also arrested for alleged violations of antitrust laws.
Prosecutors are also investigating another bribery scandal centered on Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Dentsu official who served on the organizing committee.
The scrutiny of tenders has influenced the choice of venues for previous tournaments and Olympic events. It is a joint operation by the country’s Fair Trade Commission, which monitors breaches of antitrust rules.
According to the prosecution, the officials secretly agreed on the tenders in 2018.
Local media reported that some contracts had only one bidder. The prosecution indicated that arrests have just begun in the case and could lead to snatching of more firms.
In Japan, a conviction for violating an anti-trust law is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Multiple allegations of corruption surrounding Tokyo 2020 have put Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Winter Games on hold. The city, located in the north of the country, was considered one of the favorites before the scandal.
The Tokyo Games have been postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are due to end in 2021. Its official cost was $13,000 million, although a government audit suggests it may have been twice that.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama