Ex-Tokyo Olympic exec, 3 others arrested on suspicion of bribery
Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee executive, was arrested by prosecutors Wednesday on suspicion of accepting bribes of around 51 million yen (US$378,000) from major suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc., local media said.
Along with Takahashi, former chairman and founder of Aoki Holdings Hironori Aoki and two others were also arrested the same day, according to local reports.
The special team of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office suspects Takahashi received more than 50 bribes between October 2017 and March this year, in exchange for using his influence to help ensure the suit maker received preferential treatment in the process of picking sponsors.
Takahashi, also a former senior managing director at advertizing giant Dentsu, is suspected of influencing Aoki Holdings' selection as a Games sponsor by way of a consulting firm he headed.
Takahashi's consulting firm reportedly signed the deal with Aoki Holdings worth 1 million yen per month in September 2017, with the "official supporter" deal being announced one year later.
Tokyo prosecutors on July 26 raided Takahashi's private residence, the headquarters of Tokyo-based advertising agency Dentsu, and other sites related to Takahashi, who wielded a strong influence in both sporting and business worlds.
The prosecutors believe he received around 51 million yen from major business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. with the contract allowing Aoki to use the events' emblems for business purposes and sell officially licensed products, including suits bearing the emblems.
Japanese law prohibits members of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee from accepting money or gifts related to their duties. Violating this law constitutes bribery.
Aoki's former chairman and founder, Hironori Aoki, previously told prosecutors that his company paid the funds and that he believed Takahashi had influence as a committee executive in selecting Aoki as a major sponsor of the Games.
Takahashi, for his part, previously said that he had signed a standard business contract as a sports consultant and did not exert his influence in the lucrative deal involving Aoki Holdings.
Aoki Holdings, meanwhile, had agreed to fully cooperate with investigators, local media said.
"I feel very disappointed," Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters after hearing about Takahashi's arrest on Wedensday.