Sene­galese de­nies in­volve­ment in Ja­pan Olympic chief scan­dal

Tehran Times - - SPORTS -

TOKYO (Ky­odo) — A Sene­galese man at the cen­ter of a French cor­rup­tion probe into the award­ing of the 2020 Olympic Games to Tokyo has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

“Mr. Takeda has never dis­cussed such things with my fa­ther, never dis­cussed any­thing like that with any­body that I know,” Papa Mas­sata Di­ack, son of for­mer head of the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions Lamine Di­ack, said in a phone in­ter­view late Fri­day night with Ky­odo News.

His state­ment came fol­low­ing the rev­e­la­tion that the pres­i­dent of the Ja­panese Olympic Com­mit­tee, Tsunekazu Takeda, has been un­der for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion by French pros­e­cu­tors for sus­pected cor­rup­tion in con­nec­tion with Tokyo’s suc­cess­ful bid to host the Sum­mer Games.

A day af­ter the con­fir­ma­tion by French ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties that they had launched the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee on Satur­day also started look­ing into the al­le­ga­tions against Takeda.

On Fri­day, Takeda, head of the JOC since 2001, ac­knowl­edged in a state­ment that he had been ques­tioned by the French au­thor­i­ties in Paris in De­cem­ber, but he said there was “no un­just act that can be rec­og­nized as bribery has taken place.”

French in­ves­ti­ga­tors sus­pect that part of 2.8 mil­lion Sin­ga­pore dol­lars ($2 mil­lion) paid by the Tokyo Games’ bid com­mit­tee to Sin­ga­porean con­sul­tancy firm Black Tid­ings in 2013 went to Mas­sata Di­ack, whose fa­ther was a pow­er­ful IOC mem­ber at the time.

In the in­ter­view, Mas­sata Di­ack said he only met Takeda twice in his life, the first time in 2009 in Ber­lin dur­ing the World Cham­pi­onships in Ath­let­ics and the last time in 2013 in Buenos Aires, when Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympic Games, de­feat­ing Is­tan­bul 60-36 in the fi­nal round of se­cret vot­ing by the IOC.

The 53-year-old said he merely shook hands with Takeda in the first meet­ing and sim­ply con­grat­u­lated him on Tokyo’s suc­cess when he saw him for the sec­ond time.

Takeda, also an IOC mem­ber who heads the sports gov­ern­ing body’s mar­ket­ing com­mis­sion, has said the pay­ment to the Sin­ga­porean firm was le­git­i­mate com­pen­sa­tion based on a con­sul­tancy agree­ment and he will con­tinue to co­op­er­ate with the French au­thor­i­ties to “dis­pel his sus­pi­cions.”

The JOC said that Takeda will hold a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day in Tokyo.

Mas­sata Di­ack, who is wanted by French law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties, said Tokyo’s “vic­tory was very clear” over Is­tan­bul and it is non­sense to think that Ja­pan had to pay money to col­lect votes.

As with his fa­ther, Mas­sata Di­ack, who has been on In­ter­pol’s wanted list on charges in­clud­ing com­plic­ity in re­ceiv­ing bribes and ag­gra­vated money laun­der­ing, is sus­pected of hav­ing been in­volved in cov­er­ing up dop­ing by Rus­sian ath­letes.

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