Dentsu Group Inc donated more than $6 million to Tokyo's successful campaign to host the 2020 Olympics, according to bank records seen by Reuters, and it lobbied members of the International Olympic Committee on behalf of the town , according to three people involved within the lobbying. The activities created a possible conflict of interest for the japanese advertising company, which had a separate contract with the IOC to plug the games.
To assist in its effort, Dentsu endorsed the hiring of a Singaporean consultant by the Tokyo Olympic campaign. The company’s role is laid call at transcripts of interviews company executives gave to investigators appointed by the japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) to look at whether there had been any wrongdoing within the course of Tokyo’s campaign. French prosecutors investigating corruption in global sports suspect that consultant, Tan Tong Han, played a task in bribing Olympic voters for Tokyo in 2013, according to two people conversant in the French probe. Tan didn't answer requests for comment from Reuters.
Until now, Dentsu has played down its involvement with the Tokyo campaign. In answer to questions from Reuters, the corporation said its employees only provided advice, when asked, on “several experts and consultants within the sports field,” including Tan. But within the months leading up to the IOC vote to award the Olympics in 2013, Dentsu played a way more active role, according to the three people involved in lobbying and campaign bank records, whilst it maintained its longstanding account with the IOC. That placed it on each side of a competitive bid, a possible conflict under IOC guidelines.
Article 10 of the IOC’s rules of conduct for cities vying to host the games states that its top tier of advertisers and marketing partners “shall refrain from supporting or promoting any of the cities” so as to “preserve the integrity and neutrality” of the bidding process.
The IOC told Reuters last month that Dentsu wasn't a marketing partner between 2011 and 2013, when Tokyo was bidding to host the 2020 Olympics and thus not subject thereto rule. However, Kiyoshi Nakamura, a senior Dentsu executive, told JOC investigators in 2016 that his company was an IOC marketing partner at the time of the bid, according to the transcript of his interview seen by Reuters.
The IOC didn't answer questions from Reuters on whether its ethics commission, the body which might make a ruling on any conflict of interest, checked out Dentsu’s activities during Tokyo’s 2020 bid.
Nakamura told Japanese investigators that the IOC had what he called an "adult understanding" of Dentsu's role in working directly with the Tokyo campaign. "They (the IOC) told us to not roll in the hay publicly," Nakamura told investigators, according to the transcript of his 2016 interview seen by Reuters and not previously reported. He didn't specify who at the IOC told the Tokyo campaign that.
In 2013, Dentsu transferred $6.2 million into the Tokyo campaign's sponsorship account, according to bank records seen by Reuters. The previously undisclosed contribution was quite 10% of the entire that bid sponsors provided.
In a statement to Reuters, Dentsu confirmed the payment, but declined to specify the quantity . "We provided a donation in response to an invitation for support from the bid committee, after an adequate internal corporate process," Dentsu said during a statement. It didn't say how the cash was used.
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