Sports

Olympics: Japan says 2020 bid was clean

Japan insisted yesterday that its successful bid for the 2020 Olympics was "clean", after a new report alleged clandestine payments surrounding the campaign for the Tokyo Games.

Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that French authorities are probing payments totalling about 1.8 million euros 
($2.8 million) made to a firm linked to Papa Massata Diack - the son of Lamine Diack, the disgraced former president of world athletics governing body IAAF.

Two payments were made in 2013 to Black Tidings, a Singapore-based company linked to Diack junior, who was employed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a consultant, French prosecutors said in a statement.

The International Olympic Committee chose Tokyo over Istanbul and Madrid as host for the 2020 Games in September 2013.

Diack senior was still an IOC member at the vote.

The payments were discovered as part of an inquiry into allegations that Diack father and son organised bribes to cover up failed dope tests by Russian athletes, the prosecutors said.

French investigators became involved as the money may have been laundered in Paris.

SUSPICIOUS

The prosecutors said the payments "so close to the International Olympic Committee's designation of the organising city for the 2020 Olympic Games, important parallel purchases by Black Tidings in Paris", and other elements had convinced them to start a new inquiry.

Diack senior now faces corruption and money-laundering charges in France. His son is wanted by French authorities, who have issued an international arrest alert through Interpol.

An IOC spokesman said in March, however, that there was "no evidence" at that stage of corruption in the Olympic bids.

Reacting to the Guardian report on the French probe, Japanese government chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said yesterday: "My understanding is that the bid process of the Tokyo 2020 Games was done in a clean way.

"Japan will take appropriate measures if the French justice authorities make any request." - AFP.

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