Prosecutors on Tuesday served a fresh arrest warrant on Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee executive already embroiled in suspected corruption cases, for allegedly accepting bribes totaling 76 million yen ($54,000) from major publisher Kadokawa Corp.
The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office also arrested former Kadokawa executive Toshiyuki Yoshihara, 64, and another person for allegedly bribing Takahashi, 78, as well as Kazumasa Fukami, 73, who heads a consulting firm, for allegedly receiving bribes from the publisher.
Prosecutors are investigating whether Fukami asked Takahashi to help Kadokawa be chosen as a sponsor for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, according to sources close to the matter.
Takahashi has denied the allegation, said the sources.
The prosecutors also searched the home of the publisher's chairman, Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, over the case.
The move comes after the prosecutors searched on Monday the offices of Daiko Advertising Inc., including its Osaka headquarters and branch in Tokyo, on suspicion of bribery.
Similar to Kadokawa, the advertiser was found to have paid a large sum of money to Fukami's firm.
Of the 26 million yen sum, 10 million is suspected of having been used in connection to favors Daiko sought for a client company during the sponsorship selection process, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the sum given by Kadokawa to the entity was described as a consulting fee after the publisher became a sponsor for the Tokyo Games in April 2019, which enabled it to publish the Summer Games' official guidebooks and records.
Kadokawa, the chairman, said Monday he is not aware of his company having given any bribes.
The money was for sports-related consulting fees, the 79-year-old said, adding that he did not think any of it had been transferred to Takahashi as he "trusts (his) employees."
On Tuesday, Takahashi, together with clothing retailer Aoki Holdings Inc.'s former chairman Hironori Aoki and two others, were indicted in connection with a separate allegation of bribery totaling around 51 million yen.
Prosecutors believe Takahashi, a former senior managing director of 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 summer games, borrowed many Dentsu employees.
Takahashi and his acquaintance, also a former Dentsu employee, are believed to have pushed for the organizing committee to use Daiko as an agent when selecting sponsors. The client company, which operates in the service industry, became a sponsor in 2018.
Daiko, in a statement, said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.