Japanese prosecutors are set to serve a fourth arrest warrant to a former Tokyo Olympic executive for allegedly accepting bribes from a company that sold officially licensed stuffed toys of the games' mascots, sources close to the matter said Monday.
Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, who has been at the center of a growing corruption scandal over the selection of Summer Games sponsors, is believed to have received a total of 8 million yen ($54,000) in cash from stuffed toy maker Sun Arrow Inc., the sources said.
He is believed to have forwarded an emailed request from the Tokyo-based company regarding product screening and other details to the organizing committee, according to the sources.
Takahashi, who was a Tokyo Olympic organizing committee member, wielded great influence over the selection of sponsors for the world sports event. He has already been arrested three times on suspicion of accepting much bigger bribes from three other firms.
The criminal disposition for his third arrest involving Daiko Advertising Inc. will be decided Tuesday. Takahashi has been accused of accepting some 15 million yen in bribes from Daiko in return for asking the committee to use the firm as an agent for an English conversation school operator seeking to become a sponsor of the games.
The review board for officially licensed products was managed by the organizing committee's marketing division, which had many employees from Japan's largest advertising agency Dentsu Inc. working on loan, the sources said.
As the screening procedures were strict, Sun Arrow is believed to have asked Takahashi, a former senior managing director at Dentsu, to lobby the organizing committee to extend favors over the sale of merchandise for the games.
The company sent 8 million yen to a consulting firm run by a golf friend of Takahashi and the money was later transferred to him, a source familiar with the situation said.
The special investigation team has also discovered that major ad agency ADK Holdings Inc. paid about 19 million yen to the same consulting firm after becoming an agent for a sponsor, the sources said.
Takahashi is alleged to have persuaded Dentsu, the exclusive agent to secure Japanese sponsors for the games, to use ADK as a marketing agent.
Takahashi also has been indicted for receiving bribes of around 51 million yen and 76 million yen from business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. and publisher Kadokawa Corp., respectively, in return for helping them to land games sponsorships.
The defense lawyer for Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, 79, the former chairman of Kadokawa indicted on charges of bribery, requested bail Monday at the Tokyo District Court. A previous request made on Oct. 5 was rejected.
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