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French prosecutors checking if money paid by Tokyo Olympic bid team was used as a bribe

PARIS -- French prosecutors are investigating whether "consulting fees" paid by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid team in 2013 were used as bribes to collect votes to win the right to host the Games, investigative sources have said.

Exchanging bribes even between private individuals could constitute the crime of bribery in France. Therefore, if the French prosecutors were to deem that the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee had conspired with a third party to secure the votes of International Olympic Committee (IOC) members to host the Tokyo Games, it could develop into a crime case.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid team paid a total of about 230 million yen to the "Black Tidings" company in Singapore ostensibly for "consulting fees" shortly before and after it won its bid in September 2013 to host the Tokyo Games. According to sources close to the French financial prosecutors' office, it has been confirmed that funds from Black Tidings were used to buy such things as luxurious watches in Paris around the time when the "consulting fees" were paid.

Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine Diack who was serving as an IOC member in those days, had friendly relations with Ian Tan Tong Han who represented Black Tidings. Therefore, the French prosecutors are apparently checking whether the "consulting fees" were actually used to buy luxury watches and other items that were in turn given to IOC members.

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