Tokyo Games consulting firm paid $370,000 to Diack’s son

Updated 22 Sep 2020

Email

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. — AFP/File
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. — AFP/File

TOKYO: A consulting firm for Tokyo’s Olympic bid committee paid around $370,000 to the son of Lamine Diack, once one of the world’s most powerful sports officials, around the time Japan was picked to host the 2020 Games, Kyodo News reported on Monday.

The report comes amid French investigations into the former head of Tokyo’s bid committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, for approving around $2 million in payments to Black Tidings, a now-defunct consulting firm in Singapore.

The report said the findings, based on a review of financial documents as well as reporting by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and several media organisations including Kyodo, may shed light on what happened to the $2 million.

According to Kyodo, the now-defunct Black Tidings had transferred more than $150,000 to the personal account of Papa Massata Diack and wired $217,000 to a company run by him by January 2014.

The findings, based on financial documents and reporting by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, including Kyodo, may shed light on allegations that the Tokyo bid committee engaged in vote-buying, the news agency said.

Papa Massata Diack told Kyodo that the payments were not related to the Tokyo Olympics. He declined further comment in an e-mail.

French prosecutors had been looking into whether Black Tidings paid the younger Diack to influence the father, who was a member of the International Olympic Committee and believed to control votes among African members.

Takeda resigned last year due to the scandal, admitting to the payments while denying wrongdoing.

The Kyodo report said he denied any knowledge of money transfers from Black Tidings.

“At the time, I did not know anything that happened after [making the payment to the consulting firm],” he said.

There was no immediate contact with Takeda for comment.

Lamine Diack is the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, (IAAF) — now renamed World Athletics. He was convicted in France last Wednesday for corruption in relation to a Russian doping scandal.

He was also a member of the IOC and said to have influence over African votes at the time of the Tokyo bid in September 2013 to host the 2020 Games.

Tsunekazu Takeda, former head of the Tokyo bid committee, has also denied any wrongdoing. Last year Takeda stepped down from the head of Japan’s Olympic Committee following the French investigation.

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the government planning to host the games next year instead.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2020