Tokyo's Winning Olympics Bid Linked to Big, Alleged Bribe

$2.3M was paid to consulting firm linked to IAAF officials convicted of corruption
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2020 11:09 AM CDT
A Big Bribe Allegedly Linked to Tokyo Olympics Bid
Papa Massata Diack, son of Lamine Diack the former president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, speaks to the media in Dakar, Senegal, on Sept. 17, 2020.   (AP Photo/Sylvain Cherkaoui)

A former head of the largest Olympic sports federation and his son have been convicted in France of accepting $4 million in bribes from athletes in exchange for hiding positive doping tests. And from that case has sprung another claim of corruption, this one tied to Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympics. French prosecutors are investigating Lamine Diack, who ran the International Association of Athletics Federations (now World Athletics), and his son Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marking consultant. As NBC News reports, a FinCEN document shows $2.3 million was transferred from the Tokyo Organizing Committee to a consulting company in Singapore controlled by a friend of the younger Diack, before and after the 2013 selection. The company, Black Tidings, then directed hundreds of thousands of dollars to accounts controlled by the Diacks in Senegal, as well as to luxury car dealerships and a jeweller.

Lamine Diack was thought to have influence over African members of the International Olympic Committee, per the AP. A Japanese commission investigated the payments in 2016, determining they were not bribes. Officials involved in the bid have only admitted to showering the Diacks with gifts within allowable limits. But bank records show $55 million went in and out of the Diacks' accounts in 112 suspicious transactions, per NBC. Both were convicted last week of accepting bribes from Russian athletes, with the judge noting $15 million was sent to Papa Massata Diack's companies. His father, 87, was handed two years in prison and a $580,000 fine. Papa Massata Diack, who remained in Senegal, was sentenced in absentia to five years in prison and a $1.1 million fine. Both deny wrongdoing and plan to appeal. The younger Diack claims the money he received was from a sponsorship deal in China. (More 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games stories.)

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