“No Evidence” Of Olympic Bid Corruption Despite Tokyo 2020 Allegations: IOC

Jacques Rogge opens envelope revealing Tokyo as winner of 2020 bid
IOC President Jacques Rogge opens envelope revealing Tokyo as winner of 2020 bid (IOC Photo)

According to an International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesperson Tuesday, the IOC has seen “no evidence” so far to support allegations of possible bribery in the bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.

The Associated Press reports that the IOC said it has applied to be a party to the investigation by French authorities into corruption in track and field that could spread to possible bribery in Olympic bidding.

The IOC said it was in “close contact” with French prosecutors who have been investigating bribery and money-laundering involving cover-ups at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

In January, a report on the investigation hinted that Tokyo’s 2020 bid may have benefitted from a sponsorship deal with the IAAF and that IOC member and IAAF President Lamine Diack switched his vote from Istanbul to Tokyo as a result.

Tuesday The Guardian newspaper reported that the prosecutors have widened the probe to include the bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Games, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

“Transcripts of the various discussions between Turkish individuals with KD make reference to a discussion regarding the Olympic city bidding process for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games,” a footnote on page 36 of the commission report read.

KD references Khalil Diack, son of former International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and IAAF President Lamine Diack (LD).

Lamine Diack is currently under investigation for possible corruption charges involving the IAAF.

The report continues “it is stated that Turkey lost LD’s support because they did not pay sponsorship moneys of $ 4 to 5 million either to the Diamond League or IAAF.”

“According the transcript the Japanese did pay such a sum. The 2020 Games were awarded to Tokyo.

“The IC did not investigate this matter further for it was not within our remit.”

Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020

Later Commission Chair Dick Pound said he requested that the IAAF take a closer look at the allegations against Tokyo 2020 and the Diacks.

In a statement Tuesday the IOC said, “the IOC has been in close contact with the French prosecutors since the beginning of this investigation last year.  The IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer had already asked to the IOC to be fully informed in a timely manner of all issues that may refer to Olympic matters and has already applied to become a party to the investigations led by the French judicial authorities”.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams told reporters in Lausanne that there was no proof of any Olympic wrongdoing uncovered to date.

He said, “at the moment there is no evidence.  We have the structure in place.  We have an independent ethics commission.  But so far there is no evidence.  When we get evidence, we have shown we will act on it.

“It is any easy thing to talk about, but no one has any evidence”, he added.  “There is nothing that has been put forward to us.  At the moment, there is nothing to act on”.

Tokyo won the 2020 Olympic bid after soundly defeating Istanbul 60 votes to 36 on a third ballot that was polled in 2013 in Buenos Aires. Istanbul had come out ahead of other bidder Madrid in a second ballot run-off after both cities came even, but behind Tokyo, with 26 votes each on the first ballot.

Leading up to the election, the hotly contested race seemed much tighter and experts were divided over which city they thought would win.

The IOC was rocked by a bid city vote buying scandal in 1998 that focused on the alarming trend of gaining favor from IOC members by giving lavish gifts, and in some cases cash. Some IOC members were expelled or suspended over ethics charges.

The IOC bid processes and ethics policies were rewritten to try to prevent future such occurrences.

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