IOC says no reason to doubt Tokyo on bid payments

The International Olympic Committee said there is no reason to doubt assurances from Tokyo about the legitimacy of payments made during its successful bid to host the 2020 Games.

IOC Vice-President John Coates said the IOC would not conduct its own investigation, but looked forward to the results of probes under way in France and Japan.

Tsunekazu Takeda, leader of the group that won Tokyo the Summer Games, said this month that payments of more than $2 million said to have been made to a Singapore bank account were legitimate consultancy fees, checked by auditors.

The account was controlled by a friend of Papa Massata Diack, son of former international athletics chief president Lamine Diack. French authorities are investigating Diack senior for alleged corruption, and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) launched its own investigation into the 2020 bid process on Wednesday.

Coates, who is in Tokyo for meetings with Japanese Olympic planners, told a news conference that the IOC was concerned about the allegations and monitoring the two investigations.

“The IOC will follow and look forward to the report of that (JOC) investigation just as we look forward to the French investigation,” he said.

“We have decided that we will not conduct a parallel investigation, we will rely on both of those, and we’ll take it from there.”

Asked about Takeda’s assurances that the payments were based on a legitimate consultant’s contract, Coates said he had not seen such a contract. “I also have no reason to doubt Mr. Takeda’s statement,” he said.

The JOC’s investigative panel, comprising two lawyers and an accountant, held its first meeting on Thursday to discuss how the probe would proceed. Coates said Takeda hoped to have results within a month.

“The JOC has told us to get results as soon as possible,” panel head Yoshihisa Hayakawa told reporters. “As outside experts, we will make every effort to conduct a thorough investigation while preserving objectivity and fairness.”

Tokyo won the bid in 2013 over Madrid and Istanbul, helped by its reputation for efficiency, but has since been hit by a number of problems, including having to scrap initial plans for its stadium and its original logo.