Joc Chief Denies 2020 Games Graft Allegation


JOC chief denies 2020 Games graft allegation

The chief of the Japanese Olympic Committee has denied French allegations of bribery in connection with Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Games.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda held a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

French prosecutors said on Friday that an investigating judge placed Takeda under formal investigation last month to determine whether to open a trial.

The probe is focusing on more than two-million dollars in payments made by Tokyo's bid committee to a company in Singapore in 2013.

Takeda read out a statement that said a JOC panel had concluded in 2016 that the payments were for consulting services and that the contract was legitimate under Japanese law.

He said the panel also confirmed that he was unaware of links between the Singapore firm and the son of the former chief of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack.

Diack was a member of the International Olympic Committee when Tokyo was bidding for the Games.

Takeda said he was interviewed by the French investigative judge last month and asserted his innocence. He said he will do his best to clear his name by cooperating with the French authorities.

About 100 members of the Japanese and foreign media attended the news conference which ended in less than 10 minutes with no questions taken. The JOC abruptly announced the briefing earlier Tuesday, citing the ongoing French probe.