Last week, news broke that a seemingly dubious payment from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics bid committee to an even more dubious bank account is being investigated by French authorities. ANTOINETTE MULLER picks out the five things you should know about the saga.
Another day, another potentially dubious exchange of funds by one of world sport’s top governing bodies. This time, it’s the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Bidding committee who are under scrutiny.
A seven-figure sum was paid by the Tokyo Olympic bid team to a secret international account whose holder has links to the son of the disgraced former world athletics chief Lamine Diack. The news was revealed by The Guardian last week and French investigators have since revealed that they are indeed investigating the payment while former bid members confirmed that the payment was made but insist that it was all above board.
As with the ongoing Fifa saga, this is going to drag on for some time, but on the surface things look pretty grim for all those involved. Here’s what you need to know.
French authorities have confirmed they are investigating
Not long after The Guardian broke the news, French prosecutors confirmed that they were investigating possible offences. These include aggravated money laundering,
The fact that these payments were made so close to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
The Black Tidings account comes with pretty dubious credentials
At the centre of the storm is the “Black Tidings” account, held in Singapore
While investigating these allegations, French investigators noted the previously mentioned “Tokyo Bid” payment transaction.
Tan has close ties with some very dubious men
At the time of the bids, Tan was a consultant with Athlete Management Services (AMS), a company that was doing business with Dentsu Sport (a company which marketeted and deliver the commercial rights granted to it by the IAAF.
While there is nothing obviously wrong with that, it is Tan’s close ties with Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marketing executive and the son of the former president Lamine, which is cause for concern. Diack had carte blanche to seek sponsorship deals in developing markets.
Possible wrongdoing involving Lamine Diack and the 2020 Olympic bid race had already been cited in a World Anti-Doping Agency commission report into IAAF corruption published in January. A footnote to the report indicated that Diack would have been willing to sell his vote in exchange for a $5-million sponsorship of IAAF events.
While none of this implicates anyone, Tan’s alleged close friendship with the
Papa Massata Diack is on Interpol’s wanted list
Last year, in the wake of the investigations into doping cover-ups, France issued a wanted notice through Interpol for Papa Massata Diack. He is wanted for alleged corruption and money laundering. Diack senior surrendered his passport and was arrested in France last November. He was charged with corruption and money laundering.
Japanese officials say the payments were all above board
Unsurprisingly, the 2020 Tokyo bid committee said it had no clue about what was going on during the period of bidding. Hikariko Ono, a spokeswoman, told The Guardian: “The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has no means of knowing these allegations. We believe that the Games were awarded to Tokyo because the city presented the best bid.”
They have admitted making these payments, though. Former president of the Tokyo bid committee Tsunekazu Takeda and former director-general Nobumoto Higuchi said: “The payments mentioned in the media were a legitimate consultant’s fee paid to the service we received from
Doesn’t that remind you of the “legit African Diaspora” payment for the 2010 Soccer World Cup bid? DM
Photo: A file picture dated 25 April 2016 of the logos of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic (L) and Paralympic Games (R) during a presentation in Tokyo, Japan. An alleged payment of 1.3 million
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