Prosecutors served a fresh arrest warrant Tuesday on Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee executive, for allegedly accepting bribes from an advertising agency in a growing corruption scandal over the selection of Summer Games sponsors.
Prosecutors suspect Takahashi and an acquaintance received 15 million yen ($104,000) in bribes from Daiko Advertising Inc. in return for asking the organizing committee to use the Osaka-based firm as an agent for a major English conversation school operator, which became a sponsor of last year's sporting event in September 2018, a source close to the matter said.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's special team also arrested Daiko corporate officer Yoshikazu Taniguchi for allegedly bribing Takahashi and Fukami. Prosecutors searched Taniguchi's house in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, earlier in the day.
Takahashi has already been indicted for receiving bribes of around 51 million yen from business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. and arrested for allegedly accepting bribes of about 76 million yen from major publishing company Kadokawa Corp. in return for helping them to land sponsorships.
In the Daiko case, prosecutors suspect the money in question transferred from the advertising agency to a consulting firm run by Kazumasa Fukami, the acquaintance of Takahashi, amounted to bribes for Takahashi, the source said.
Fukami has been arrested for allegedly conspiring with Takahashi to enable the latter to receive a bribe from Kadokawa through his consulting firm.
Prosecutors believe Takahashi, 78, a former senior managing director at Japan's largest advertising agency Dentsu Inc., held considerable sway over the organizing committee's marketing division.
The division, which was responsible for selecting sponsors for the games, had many Dentsu employees working on loan.
Takahashi has denied all allegations including the latest one involving Daiko, according to other sources close to the investigation.
In the widening bribery scandal, prosecutors are also probing whether Takahashi lobbied the organizing committee to extend favors to stuffed toy maker Sun Arrow Inc. over the sale of merchandise for the sporting event, the source said. The Tokyo company provided around 8 million yen to Takahashi, it said.
Additionally, Takahashi is also alleged to have requested that major ad agency ADK Holdings Inc. be engaged to act as an agent for a sponsor.
The Olympics and Paralympics were originally scheduled to be held in 2020 but were postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.