• CRIME & COURTS

Prosecutors search ex-Aoki chairman’s home in alleged Games bribery case

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Officials of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigative squad enter the home of Hironori Aoki, the former chairman of Aoki Holdings Inc., in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Wednesday.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s special investigative squad on Wednesday morning searched the Tokyo home of Hironori Aoki, the former chairman of Aoki Holdings Inc., in connection with a case in which Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive board member of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, allegedly received a large sum of money from the major menswear company that was a sponsor of the Games.

The special investigative squad also searched on the day the office of the Tokyo Organizing Committee, which is currently in the process of being dissolved, in the Tokyo metropolitan government building.

On Tuesday, the special investigative squad searched Takahashi’s home and his company on suspicion of bribery. It also searched Dentsu Inc., a major advertising agency in Minato Ward, Tokyo, which was responsible for seeking sponsors for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The prosecutors are questioning Takahashi, 78, on a voluntary basis to investigate circumstances surrounding the suspicious flow of funds to him.

According to the sources, Takahashi allegedly received ¥1 million a month, or at least ¥45 million in total, as consulting fees from Aoki Holdings from autumn of 2017 to around the time the Games ended last year, through a Tokyo-based consulting company where he serves as president.

At around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the special investigative squad officials visited the home of Aoki, 83, in Shibuya Ward. On the same day, Aoki Holdings acknowledged that the former chairman’s house had been searched. The company said in a statement, “We’re taking the situation very seriously and will cooperate fully with the investigation.”

Executive board members and officials of the organizing committee are regarded as quasi public servants and could be charged with bribery under the Penal Code if they accept money or goods in the course of their duties.