Advertising firm may have paid arrested Tokyo ex-Olympic leader for a favor
Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee arrested in a corruption case, may have been paid by an advertising company seeking to favor one of its client companies during the sponsor selection process, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The latest revelation follows suspicions that clothing retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. and publishing company Kadokawa Corp. allegedly sent payments to Takahashi in exchange for preferential treatment in the selection process as an Olympic sponsor.
A consulting firm run by an acquaintance of Takahashi, 78, was paid a total of 26 million yen ($185,000) three times by the mid-tier advertising firm based in the Kansai region of Japan. west of Japan, part of it would have been transferred to Takahashi, according to the sources.
Takahashi and his acquaintance allegedly lobbied for the organizing committee to use the company as an agent when selecting one of its client companies as a sponsor. The client company in the services sector became a sponsor in 2018.
Takahashi, former Aoki chairman Hironori Aoki and two others have been arrested in connection with another corruption case totaling around 51 million yen. Their penal fate will be decided on Tuesday.
Haruyuki Takahashi. (Kyodo)
Kadokawa, who was selected as a sponsor in April 2019, was recently found to have also donated a total of 70 million yen on more than 10 occasions to Takahashi’s acquaintance-run entity.
An ad company official declined to comment but said it was cooperating with the investigation.
Prosecutors believe Takahashi, a former chief executive of Japan’s largest advertising agency, Dentsu Inc., wielded considerable influence over the organizing committee’s marketing division.
The division, which was in charge of selecting sponsors for the summer games, borrowed many employees from Dentsu.
The acquaintance, who was also a former Dentsu employee, may have asked Takahashi to help Kadokawa get chosen as a sponsor, the sources say.
The Olympics and Paralympics were originally scheduled to be held in 2020 but were postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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