TOKYO/LAUSANNE: Tokyo’s hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games has now been drawn into the line of fire of integrity concern after reports that French police are investigating a $1.48m payment to the account of the son of Lamine Diack, the disgraced ex-IAAF president.
Confusion has circulated around the financial affairs of the departed Senegalese head of the world athletics body ever since corruption allegations exploded last autumn.
Diack was a member of the International Olympic Committee member between 1999 and 2013, the year Tokyo was awarded the Games after beating off competition from Istanbul and Madrid.
According to reports in Paris and London the suspicious payment was allegedly made to a Singaporean bank account named Black Tidings which is linked to Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack. He had been employed by the IAAF as a marketing consultant but has since been banned for life.
Dentsu, the Japanese marketing and advertising giant, had been linked to the Diack family through a long-running commercial partnership.
A report in The Guardian said Ian Tan Tong Han, reportedly a consultant to a Dentsu subsidiary Athlete Management and Services, was a friend of Papa Massata Diack and the holder of the Black Tidings account.
Tokyo’s Olympic organizers have had problems aplenty already with the reworking of the main stadium stadium and the need to revisit the logo designs after a plagiarism complaint.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, has defended Tokyo’s bid, saying: “I am confident that our bid was conducted in a clean manner.”
Yasuhiro Nakamori, spokesman for the Japan Olympic Committee, said: “We have not been asked any questions by the IOC on this matter.”
The latest reports represent double trouble for IOC president Thomas Bach. He has boasted widely and publicly of how other sports – notably football’s FIFA as well as the IAAF – should emulate the good governance example of his own organisation.
Bach also faces widespread uncertainty over how the Rio Games in August will unfold amid the political and economic chaos engulfing Brazil.
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