A former executive of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee on Thursday pleaded not guilty to receiving bribes totaling around 198 million yen ($1.4 million) in connection with the 2021 Summer Games.

Haruyuki Takahashi. (Kyodo)

Haruyuki Takahashi said he is "innocent" of all charges at the opening of his trial at the Tokyo District Court. The 79-year-old is accused of receiving bribes from five different sources between 2017 and 2022 in return for helping companies land Olympic sponsorships.

Takahashi, a former senior managing director of Japan's largest advertising agency Dentsu Inc., was considered an authority on the sports business.

He is believed to have received bribes from business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. and publisher Kadokawa Corp., among other sources, according to the indictment.

A series of trials have so far found 10 people guilty of paying bribes in connection with the Olympics, and one has been found guilty of receiving them.

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