TOKYO: Japanese prosecutors have rearrested Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive on the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, for allegedly accepting bribes from an advertising agency in a growing corruption scandal over the selection of Summer Games sponsors.

Prosecutors suspect Takahashi received bribes worth ¥15 million from Daiko Advertising in return for asking the organizing committee to use the Osaka-based firm as an agent for a major English conversation school operator, which became a sponsor of last year’s sporting event in September 2018, a source close to the matter said.

Takahashi has already been indicted for receiving bribes of around ¥51 million from business suit retailer Aoki Holdings and arrested for allegedly accepting bribes of about ¥76 million from major publishing company Kadokawa in return for helping them secure sponsorships.

In the Daiko case, prosecutors suspect a total of ¥14 million transferred by the advertising agency to a consulting firm run by Kazumasa Fukami, an acquaintance of Takahashi, amounted to bribes for Takahashi, the source said.

Fukami has been arrested for allegedly conspiring with Takahashi to enable the latter to receive a bribe from Kadokawa through his consulting firm.

A special team of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office searched the house of a Daiko executive in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Tuesday.

Prosecutors believe Takahashi, 78, a former senior managing director at Dentsu, Japan’s largest advertising agency, held considerable sway over the organizing committee’s marketing division.

Many Dentsu employees were seconded to the division, which was responsible for selecting sponsors for the games.

In the widening bribery scandal, prosecutors are also probing whether Takahashi lobbied the organizing committee to extend favors to stuffed animal maker Sun Arrow Inc. over the sale of stuffed toys for the sporting event, the source said. The Tokyo company provided around ¥8 million to Takahashi, it said.

Additionally, Takahashi is also alleged to have requested that major ad agency ADK Holdings be engaged to act as an agent for a sponsor.

The Olympics and Paralympics were originally scheduled to be held in 2020 but were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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