Tokyo Olympics exec arrested over bribery allegations
Published: Aug 17, 2022 09:51 PM
A board member for the Tokyo Olympics was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of taking bribes, prosecutors said, along with three other men connected to the scandal.

Haruyuki Takahashi allegedly received $380,000 from high-street business-suit retailer Aoki Holdings, an official partner of the 2020 Games.

The 78-year-old was arrested along with Aoki Chairman Hironori Aoki, 83, and two other executives from the retailer, according to Tokyo Prosecutors Office documents seen by AFP.

They accuse Takahashi of accepting bribes "with the understanding they were meant as thank-you money for the beneficial and preferential treatment" he bestowed on Aoki.

According to the prosecutors, Takahashi had a total of 51 million yen ($380,000) transferred to the bank account of a company he runs, in more than 50 transactions between October 2017 and March 2022.

Later in the day, Aoki Holdings issued a statement apologizing for the "enormous trouble" caused by the arrests and saying the firm "takes the matter seriously."

"We will continue to cooperate fully with investigations by authorities," it said.

The arrests came after Takahashi's Tokyo home was raided in July by investigators, according to Japanese media, with searches also conducted at the Aoki chairman's home and the disbanded ­Tokyo 2020 organizing committee office.

Takahashi, a former executive at Japan's biggest advertising agency, Dentsu, served on the Tokyo 2020 board from June 2014.

During that time he was reportedly considered a quasi-civil servant who was not permitted to accept money or gifts related to his position.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee wound down operations in July, but it maintains a presence to deal with assets and liabilities.

The Tokyo Olympics was held in 2021 after an unprecedented one-year delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic.