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Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Tokyo Olympic bid-rigging probe widens to ad agency Hakuhodo

Prosecutors conduct raids days after searching ad giant Dentsu

It is alleged that 26 open bids held in 2018 for the rights to plan 56 test events for the Tokyo Olympics were rigged.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese prosecutors and a fair trade watchdog on Monday searched offices including the headquarters of major advertising agency Hakuhodo on suspicion of bid-rigging for contracts related to test events for last year's Tokyo Olympics, just days after raiding another ad giant.

The latest searches, also covering Tokyu Agency and event production companies, were conducted as investigations related to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have expanded from a scandal involving the alleged receipt by a former games organizing committee executive, Haruyuki Takahashi, of 200 million yen ($1.44 million) in bribes from five companies.

On Friday, the prosecutors and the Japan Fair Trade Commission raided advertising giant Dentsu and premises linked to a former senior official of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee and event production company Cerespo after Japanese advertising agency ADK Holdings reported to the watchdog that it had participated in bid-rigging.

It is alleged that 26 open bids held in 2018 for the rights to plan 56 test events were rigged, with the amount of the contracts totaling more than 500 million yen.

Prior arrangements are said to have included organizing committee members asking companies whether they were interested in taking part in the bidding, according to sources.

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