Japan’s high advert company indicted over Olympics bid-rigging scandal | Japan

Japan’s largest promoting company and 5 different firms have been indicted for allegedly violating an anti-monopoly legislation, in a corruption scandal over allegations of bid-rigging through the Tokyo Olympics.

The indictment adopted the arrest this month of a senior Tokyo 2020 organising committee official and three others who had been accused of rigging a string of Olympic Video games-related tenders.

The Dentsu Group president, Hiroshi Igarashi, has admitted to Tokyo prosecutors that his agency is liable, in keeping with native media.

Prosecutors introduced expenses in opposition to the corporate in addition to the main promoting corporations Hakuhodo and Tokyu Company, and the occasions operators Similar Two, Cerespo and Fuji Inventive Corp.

Seven firm executives and officers had been additionally named within the indictment, which didn’t specify who labored for which agency.

The corporations and executives “colluded to limit one another’s enterprise exercise with regard to the awarding of contracts” for Olympic take a look at occasions, a press release from prosecutors mentioned. Their actions “went in opposition to the general public curiosity and successfully restricted competitors”.

Dentsu Group mentioned it took “the scenario very severely, and we sincerely apologise for the difficulty” brought on by the scandal.

The corporate added that it had established an exterior committee of specialists to analyze the case and requested wage returns from 5 of its present and former officers.

Tokyo prosecutors arrested the previous 2020 Video games official Yasuo Mori this month for allegedly violating the anti-monopoly legislation, together with three different businessmen. The 4 allegedly rigged a string of open aggressive bids and restricted tender contracts for Olympic occasions, reportedly price a complete of 40bn yen (£248m).

Prosecutors are additionally investigating claims a former Tokyo 2020 board member took cash from firms in change for Olympic partnership offers. Haruyuki Takahashi was arrested for allegedly pocketing bribes that reportedly amounted to just about 200m yen.

Corporations implicated within the bribery circumstances embrace a swimsuit retailer, a publishing agency and a merchandise firm licensed to promote mushy toys of the Video games’ mascots.

The previous president of ADK Holdings, Japan’s third-largest promoting company, has pleaded responsible to providing Takahashi at the least 14m yen.

In December, a former govt from the main clothes firm Aoki Holdings additionally admitted in court docket that he provided cash to safe sponsorship rights, in keeping with the nationwide broadcaster NHK.

The circumstances have solid a shadow over Sapporo’s bid for the 2030 Winter Video games, prompting the northern metropolis to halt its marketing campaign and organise a nationwide ballot to evaluate assist.

“It might be really regrettable if there have been unfair actions in bidding linked to the Tokyo Video games,” authorities spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno advised reporters on Tuesday as experiences emerged of the newest indictments.

Questions had been raised over impropriety across the Tokyo Video games even earlier than the Covid-disrupted occasion happened in summer time 2021.

The previous head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, stepped down in 2019 after French prosecutors launched an investigation into corruption allegations linked to Tokyo’s Olympic bid.