Japanese prosecutors on Monday searched offices for advertising agencies Hakuhodo Inc. and Tokyu Agency Inc., as well as event production companies Fuji Creative Corp. and Same Two Inc., on suspicion of rigging bids for contracts related to last year’s Tokyo Olympics test events.
Prosecutors and the Japan Fair Trade Commission raided advertising agency Dentsu Inc. and event production company Cerespo Co. on Friday.
This follows the arrest of ADK Holdings’ president Shinichi Ueno in October on suspicion of bribing former Tokyo Olympics Committee member Haruyuki Takahashi with 47 million yen (about US$313,500) to select ADK as a marketing agent for the Olympics. Police raided the corporate headquarters of ADK Holdings on the same day.
Dentsu, Hakuhodo, and ADK Holdings are three of the major advertising agencies in Japan.
There are allegedly 26 rigged open bids from May-August 2018 for the rights to plan 56 test events, with the contracts totaling over 500 million yen (about US$3.6 million). Nine companies, including six that have been searched, won the bids. The total value of the contracts signed related to test and actual events is over 20 billion yen (about US$144 million). Investigators are looking into possible collusion between the companies to decide in advance which companies would win bids.
Police also raided the headquarters of toy merchandise company Sun Arrow, following prosecutors accusing Takahashi of accepting a total of 7 million yen (about US$47,000, previously reported as 8 million yen) in bribes from Sun Arrow to select the company as the licensed maker of the Games’ toys. Police also served a fourth arrest warrant to Takahashi for allegedly receiving a total of 54 million yen (about US$362,000) in bribes from ADK and Sun Arrow.
Police had previously arrested Takahashi three times on suspicion of accepting bribes related to Olympic sponsorships from three other firms: Aoki Holdings Inc., Kadokawa, and Daiko Advertising. Takahashi was also a former senior managing director of Japanese advertising agency and exclusive agent for the Olympics’ Japanese sponsors, Dentsu Inc.