Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Japan businessman claims he gave gifts to help secure Tokyo Olympic games

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A member of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organising committee has claimed he gave gifts to former World Athletics president Lamine Diack in Japan’s bid to host the Games.

Businessman Haruyuki Takahashi was paid £6.66million by the committee behind Tokyo’s initial bid to win the Games, according to financial records.

And Takahashi admitted to Reuters his role included lobbying the likes of Diack, whom he gave digital cameras and a Seiko watch. Takahashi said: “They’re cheap.”

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Diack remains under house arrest in France, where he is awaiting trial over bribery and corruption charges around the bids to win both the 2016 and 2020 Summer Games.

The Senegalese former head of global athletics is alleged to have taken bribes to help both Rio de Janeiro and Japan win their respective races to host the Games.

Takahashi has denied any wrongdoing in his bid to persuade Diack to vote for Tokyo, saying it was normal to give gifts to improve relations.

Diack, meanwhile, continues to deny any wrongdoing, his lawyer saying ahead of his case that he “denies all allegations of bribery”.

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