March 22, 2019
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Japan's Olympic Committee head under probe in France over alleged bribes

 Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, speaks during a delegation formation ceremony for the Sochi Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 20, 2014. EPA-EFE FILE/KIYOSHI OTA

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, speaks during a delegation formation ceremony for the Sochi Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 20, 2014. EPA-EFE FILE/KIYOSHI OTA

Paris, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- The Japanese Olympic Committee head has been placed under investigation by French authorities into alleged bribes supposedly paid to African International Olympic Committee members to support the Japanese bid for the 2020 Olympics Games, French judicial sources told EFE Friday.

Tsunekazu Takeda, considered to be the mastermind of the Japanese capital bid that prevailed over Spanish and Turkish bids in the 2013 vote, was interrogated in Dec. 2018 by a French judge who has been investigating alleged irregularities over the past three years, the sources added.

Takeda denies that he is under investigation or has committed any wrongdoing and only has acknowledged that he was questioned in Dec. 2018 after being summoned by the French judge.

The French investigators associated with the inquiry into Takeda's behavior allegedly tracked a 1.8 million euro ($2.08 million) payment by the Japanese to a company owned by Senegal's Papa Massata Diack, son of the then President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, Lamine Diack, according to Le Monde, the French daily newspaper.

This money was allegedly a bribe to convince Diack to lobby African IOC members to support the Japanese bid.

According to the investigators, the Diack son allegedly got the money through a Singapore-based company by the name Black Tidings.

A separate corruption case investigation into the Diack father and son triggered the probe into the Takeda's alleged breach of conduct.

When first questioned in Tokyo in Feb. 2017, Takeda confirmed the payment, but he was unable to justify it. The second questioning of Takeda, which took place on Dec. 10 2018, led to the present investigation of Takeda and the Diacks.

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