FEI Vice President Indicted For Corruption

Tsunekazu Takeda seen on the right of this image, is an FEI Vice President
Credit : Richard Julliart.

Saturday 12 January - 22h05 | Lea Dall'Aglio

FEI Vice President Indicted For Corruption

Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, has been indicted for "active corruption," according to information from the French daily paper,  Le Monde. The Japanese capital could have benefited from vote buying for the organization of the 2020 Olympic Games. Tsunekazu Takeda, 71, is a former high-level rider and coach of Japan's national equestrian team.

Le Monde alleges that the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and prime contractor of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been indicted for "active corruption" by French investigating judges Renaud Van Ruymbeke and Stéphanie Tacheau.

Tsunekazu Takeda is suspected of having favored the Japanese designation, on September 7th, 2013 in Buenos Aires, by paying bribes. He was questioned on December 10th by the French justice system, which has been investigating this subject for three years.

The 71-year-old has worn several hats: former rider, he competed in five Olympics, as a participant (Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976) and as a coach of the Japanese national team (Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992). A member of the FEI Board from 1992 to 2002, he is now an Honorary Vice President. Since 2001 he has chaired the Japanese Olympic Committee. He has also been a member of the IOC since 2012, where he chairs the marketing committee.

Close links with International Athletics Federatgion

It was in the context of a French judicial inquiry, opened in October 2015 by the National Financial Office (PNF), on a corruption case of the International Federation of Athletics (IAAF), that the discovery was made of  significant payments to the Tokyo Organizing Committee from a Singapore-based company, Black Tidings. Payments made on July 20th and October 28th, 2013, shortly before and after the host city's award, for a total amount of € 1.8 million.

Beyond the amount of the payments, it is the company itself which intrigues: Black Tidings is connected to Papa Massata Diack, son of Lamine Diack (former president of the IAAF), who is covered by an international arrest warrant since 2016 as a result of several corruption cases in the sports world. He is already suspected of buying votes in Rio's candidacy (which is why the head of the organization of the 2016 Olympics, Carlos Nuzman, is also indicted), and in that of Pyeongchang for those of winter 2018.

However, according to Le Monde, Lamine Diack told Judge Van Ruymbeke that on the eve of the Buenos Aires election, he had spoken to "a dozen IOC African members in a small meeting", to whom he announced to support the Japanese candidacy. "There was a round table. As no one reacted, I guess they were all for Tokyo, "he added. The question is whether the payments to Black Tidings were intended to influence the Diack family, so that it in turn influences the IOC's African members. What might be considered institutional lobbying could just as easily turn into corruption, if the investigators prove that these reports - commissioned to help Tokyo convince the IOC members - have never actually existed.

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