ANN/THE JAPAN NEWS – Some companies whose officials were arrested in the bribery scandal involving the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have told the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office that “there was bid-rigging” for projects ordered by the Games organising committee, it was learned from sources.
Major advertising company Dentsu Inc was among nine companies and one organisation that made successful bids for pre-Olympic and Paralympic test events. The special investigation squad of the prosecutor’s office is investigating the case in cooperation with the Fair Trade Commission on suspicion of infringing on the Antimonopoly Law, which regulates unreasonable restraint of trade.
A former director of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organising committee Haruyuki Takahashi has been indicted four times for accepting bribes totalling nearly JPY200 million from five companies, including sponsors.
The new allegations of unfair trade practices have surfaced in connection with competition-related projects, further shaking trust in the Games.
Test events in each of the Olympic and Paralympic sports serve as run-throughs at the same venues as those used for the Games to confirm the flow of athletes and spectators, security arrangements and other operational aspects.
According to sources, the suspected collusion occurred in bidding conducted in 2018 by the organising committee for contractors to do the planning of the test events.
During the investigation of the bribery cases, some of the five companies whose executives were indicted for giving bribes told investigators that there was bid-rigging in the bidding for the planning work of the test events, according to the sources.
Based on evidence seized thus far, investigators suspect that several companies, including Dentsu, rigged bids by coordinating in advance which one of them would make the successful bid for each venue.
The Antimonopoly Law prohibits “unreasonable restraint of trade” businesses from coordinating in advance to decide the winner of a bid and cartels that agree on set prices.
In addition to being subject to administrative action such as fines, particularly malicious cases are subject to criminal penalties, with the Fair Trade Commission filing an accusation with the Prosecutor General over the matter.