Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The news agency Reuters has reported that members of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bidding Committee have said that payments to Papa Massata Diack, son of former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack, were ‘legitimate consultant’s fees’. According to Reuters, the statement by Bidding Committee ex-president Tsunekazu Takeda and ex-director general Nobumoto Higuchi said that the ‘properly contracted’ payments made to Black Tidings Limited, the company owned by Diack, were ‘fully audited by Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC’.
According to other media reports, Olympic Bidding Committee members have said that the fees related to ‘planning, presentation, & lobbying’ and that the ‘activity by the Tokyo bid Committee was at all times fair and correct’.
On Thursday French financial prosecutors confirmed that they were investigating two financial movements during the months of July and October 2013, totalling S$2.8 million [€1.8 million at current exchange rates] under the title ‘Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Bid’ from an account at a Japanese bank for the benefit of ‘Black Tidings’ in Singapore’.
On news of the investigation, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, which is distinct from the Bidding Committee, distanced itself from the allegations. ‘The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is not itself involved in this, as it concerns the bidding process and those who worked at the bid committee’, read a statement on Thursday afternoon. ‘The Organising Committee’s understanding of the contents of [The Guardian’s] report is quite different’.