French prosecutors reportedly investigating €1.3 million payment by Tokyo bid team ahead of 2020 vote
An alleged payment of €1.3 million (£1 million/$1.5 million) by the Tokyo 2020 bid team to the Black Tidings bank account in Singapore is among transfers being investigated by French prosecutors, it has been reported today.
Black Tidings has been at the centre of allegations of corruption within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), with the account reportedly used by the Diack family for money transfers.
Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack, is one of four people banned in connection with helping Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova avoid punishment after failing a drugs test.
The French prosecutors investigating corruption in athletics widened their investigation to incorporate the two Olympic races awarded to Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 in October 2009 and September 2013 respectively in March.
It was claimed that the investigation would examine the role of Lamine Diack, who served for 14-years as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member before his term expired in 2013.
The Senegalese stepped down as an honorary IOC member last year after allegations he was at the centre of a cabal of IAAF officials who accepted payments in return for the covering up of failed doping tests, and was later arrested in France.
The latest allegations are set to cause further embarrassment for Japanese organisers, with the Guardian claiming that the seven-figure payment was sent from the Tokyo 2020 bid or by people acting on their behalf to the account, prior to the Japanese city being awarded the Olympic Games.
Tokyo defeated Istanbul in the final round by 60 votes to 36 during the 2013 IOC Session in Buenos Aires after Madrid had been eliminated after a run-off in the first round of voting.
Senior IOC member Richard Pound had raised the possibility in the second part of his World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission report, published in January, that Diack may have used his position as IAAF President and IOC member to try to influence the campaign for the 2020 Olympics.
Discussions between unnamed Turkish officials and Khalil Diack, a son of Lamine, concerning the bidding process, were referred to in a footnote of the report.
It had been suggested that a sponsorship deal paid by Japan, but not Turkey, may have led to Diack and allies voting for Tokyo rather than Istanbul.
However, the allegations of a payment by Tokyo 2020 to the Black Tidings bank account are sure to concern the organisation, who have sought to convince that reforms introduced following the Salt Lake City corruption scandal in 1999 have strengthened the integrity of the bid process.
In March, IOC President Thomas Bach claimed there is “so far no evidence” to support claims of possible bribery in the bidding processes for Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020.
“The IOC has done as much as any organisation can do to address the issue of corruption,” he said.
“We have all rules and instruments in place to fight corruption with zero tolerance.”
When contacted by insidethegames concerning the allegations of a payment by Tokyo 2020, an IOC spokesperson stated: “The IOC Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer has been in contact with the French magistrates in charge of the investigation on the IAAF case, and with WADA, since its start.
“The IOC is now civil party to the French justice procedure.
“The IOC’s Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer will continue to be in contact with all interested parties to clarify any alleged improper conduct.
“The IOC will not comment any further on the elements of the investigations at this stage”.
insidethegames has contacted Tokyo 2020 for a comment regarding the latest allegations.
By Michael Pavitt
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz