Ex - Olympic Committee Exec And Former Chairman Of Sponsor Firm Were Old Friends

Ex-Olympic committee exec and former chairman of sponsor firm were old friends

A former executive of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee says he and a former chairperson of one of the firms that sponsored the Games are old acquaintances.

Tokyo prosecutors searched Takahashi Haruyuki's residence and other sites on Tuesday.

The prosecutors suspect that Takahashi may have accepted bribes in connection with the selection of major business suit retailer Aoki Holdings as a sponsor of the Tokyo Games.

Aoki Holdings signed a sponsorship agreement with the organizing committee in 2018. It sold suits and other items adorned with Olympic emblems as officially licensed products.

Takahashi and other related sources say he and Aoki's former chairman and founder, Aoki Hironori, knew each other before Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Games. They are said to have been acquainted for more than ten years.

Takahashi's Tokyo-based company is said to have received consulting fees of up to 1 million yen, or about 7,300 dollars, per month from Aoki Holdings starting in 2017. The company apparently received hundreds of thousands of dollars in total.

Members of the Tokyo Games' organizing committee are regarded as quasi-civil servants and are forbidden by law from accepting money or gifts related to their duties.

Prosecutors are expected to analyze the confiscated materials and use them to track the flow of funds.

Takahashi told NHK that he merely signed an ordinary business contract to serve as a sports consultant. He said that he never doled out favors related to the Games.

Takahashi previously served as a senior managing director at Dentsu. The major advertising agency was involved in choosing Aoki Holdings as a sponsor of the Games.

Prosecutors also searched Dentsu's headquarters on Tuesday.