YOKOHAMA: A company run by a former Tokyo Olympic organizer received more than $1 million from Games sponsor AOKI Holdings Inc, on top of payments from the suit retailer being investigated by Tokyo prosecutors, Japanese media said. AOKI paid about 230 million yen ($1.7 million) to a subsidiary of advertising agency Dentsu in the fall of 2017, which was later transferred to a company run by Haruyuki Takahashi, a former member of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee board, the Nikkei business daily said on Saturday.
Tens of millions of yen were then transferred to two sports organizations, while Takahashi's firm kept the remaining 150 million yen, the newspaper said. The Yomiuri newspaper on Sunday put the initial payment at 250 million yen ($1.9 million).
Takahashi, a former executive at advertising giant Dentsu Inc, did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment. AOKI, Dentsu and its owner, Tokyo-listed Dentsu Group Inc, could not be reached for comment. Takahashi and AOKI's former chairman, Hironori Aoki, said there was nothing illegal about the money, the Nikkei reported. It quoted a source as saying Takahashi told prosecutors the money was paid as remuneration for consulting work he had been doing since 2009 and not something he had received as organizing committee director.
Japanese media last week showed prosecutors entering Takahashi's home and AOKI's headquarters. The reports said prosecutors were investigating 45 million yen ($340,000) in suspected inappropriate payments to him. Dentsu, which the media reported was also searched, said it was cooperating with prosecutors.
No one at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office was available to comment outside of regular business hours on Sunday. The office previously told Reuters it would not comment on an individual case. Reuters reported in March 2020 that Takahashi was paid more than $8 million in 2013 and 2014 by the Tokyo Olympic bid committee for undisclosed activities. At the time, he told Reuters his work included lobbying International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and said there was nothing improper with the payments he received or the way in which he used the money.
IOC chief Thomas Bach said those payments did not break IOC rules. ($1 = 133.1900 yen)