Kyodo: In 2018, French Judge Criticized Flaws In Japan’s Vote-Buying Probe

More than two years ago, a French judge said Japan’s probe was “limited” with “many flaws” in an investigation into alleged vote-buying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid, Kyodo News reports.

The Tokyo Olympics have become entangled with a major corruption and bribery scandal revolving around former international track & field (IAAF) head Lamine DiackDiack was sentenced to four years in jail after admitting that he had slowed the handling of Russian doping cases for financial reasons. Diack had been accused of soliciting over 3 million Euros in bribes.

That investigation has turned up other bribery charges – including allegations that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic organizing committee bribed Diack for his vote to secure Japan’s bid to host the Summer Olympics.

Inside the Games reports that a consultancy firm called Black Tidings transferred $370,000 to Papa Massata Diack around the same time that Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics. Diack says the money was related to a sponsorship deal made in China. French authorities are investigating payments of about $2 million to Black Tidings over allegations of payoffs to decide the 2020 Olympic host.

In addition, a former Japanese advertising executive was paid $8.2 million by the Tokyo bid committee and admitted to giving gifts to Diack, though he denied wrongdoing. You can read more about those allegations here.

Now, Japan’s Kyodo News reports that a French judge called Japan’s probe into the vote-buying scandal “limited” and having “many flaws.”

The judge made the comments back in 2018, but the criticism wasn’t reported until this week. Kyodo cites “sources with knowledge of the matter.” The judge said Japanese prosecutors “failed to question all the witnesses or seize documents” while investigating the allegations.

One wrinkle in the investigation has been a difference in French and Japanese law. In France, bribery is illegal whether the recipient is a public official or a private figure, but in Japan, bribery is only considered illegal when the recipient of the bribe is a public official.

The judge’s comments came while questioning Tsunekazu Takeda, who was president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, but stepped down in 2019 amid the investigation into the alleged vote-buying. Takeda told the judge he was innocent and was not involved in choosing Black Tidings as the Olympic bid’s consultancy firm.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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