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

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

The indictment adopted the arrest this month of a senior Tokyo 2020 organising committee official and three others who have 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 line with native media.

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

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

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

Dentsu Group stated it took “the state of affairs very severely, and we sincerely apologise for the difficulty” attributable to the scandal.

The corporate added that it had established an exterior committee of specialists to research 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 corporations in trade for Olympic partnership offers. Haruyuki Takahashi was arrested for allegedly pocketing bribes that reportedly amounted to almost 200m yen.

Firms implicated within the bribery circumstances embrace a go well with retailer, a publishing agency and a merchandise firm licensed to promote delicate toys of the Video games’ mascots.

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

In December, a former government from the key clothes firm Aoki Holdings additionally admitted in court docket that he supplied cash to safe sponsorship rights, in line 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 help.

“It will be actually regrettable if there have been unfair actions in bidding linked to the Tokyo Video games,” authorities spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno instructed reporters on Tuesday as reviews emerged of the most recent indictments.

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