Japanese prosecutors are set to mount a new bribery case against a former Tokyo Olympics executive for allegedly taking bribes from a company that sold officially licensed plush dolls of the games’ mascots, Investigative sources said Sunday.
Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, who has been at the center of the growing corruption scandal, reportedly received a total of 8 million yen ($54,000) in cash from plush toy maker Sun Arrow Inc., the sources said.
Haruyuki Takahashi. (Kyodo)
The development is another blow to the image of last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were postponed for a year before taking place despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is very disappointing that (the allegations) have trampled the efforts of so many people,” Seiko Hashimoto, an upper house lawmaker who headed the now-defunct organizing committee, told reporters at the National Stadium, the main place in the summer. Games.
“The situation has shattered our dreams and I am deeply sorry,” she said after attending an event to commemorate the games.
Takahashi, who was a member of the organizing committee for the Tokyo Olympics, was influential in selecting sponsors for the global sporting event. He has already been arrested three times on suspicion of accepting much larger bribes from three other companies.
In the latest case, the special investigative team of Tokyo prosecutors believe Takahashi pressured the organizing committee to grant favors to the Tokyo-based toymaker over the sale of merchandise for the games , according to sources.
The 8 million yen was first sent to a consultancy firm run by a golfer friend of Takahashi’s and the money was then transferred to him, a source familiar with the matter said.
Takahashi, also a former senior managing director of Japan’s largest advertising agency Dentsu Inc., was charged with receiving bribes of around 51 million yen from business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. and for accepting bribes of approximately 76 million yen from publisher Kadokawa Corp. in exchange for helping them land game sponsorships.
In addition, Takahashi was accused of accepting some 15 million yen in bribes from Daiko Advertising Inc. in exchange for asking the committee to use the company as an agent for a school operator of English conversation seeking to become a sponsor of the games.
The special investigation team also discovered that major advertising agency ADK Holdings Inc. had paid around 19 million to the consultancy after becoming an agent for a sponsor, the sources said.
Takahashi allegedly persuaded Dentsu, the exclusive agent in charge of finding Japanese sponsors for the games, to use ADK as a marketing agent.
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