Role in Games bid-rigging voluntarily reported to JFTC by ad agency ADK

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The building in Minato Ward, Tokyo, that houses the headquarters of ADK Holdings Inc.

Bid-rigging regarding Tokyo 2020 Summer Games test events has been voluntarily reported to the Japan Fair Trade Commission, according to sources.

Major advertising company ADK Holdings Inc. made the report under the revised 2006 Antimonopoly Law’s Leniency Program, which reduces or eliminates possible surcharges, the sources said. In principle, the rate of reduction is greater for companies that voluntarily report earlier.

In cooperation with the JFTC, the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has been investigating the case, which involves several parties including advertising giant Dentsu Inc., on suspicion of violations of the Antimonopoly Law.

The suspected bid-rigging occurred in 2018 for contractors to draw up plans for test events held ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The winning bids were won by one organization and nine companies, including Dentsu and Asatsu-DK Inc., now ADK Marketing Solutions Inc. under the ADK umbrella.

The amount of each contract ranged from about ¥4 million to ¥60 million, with the total reaching about ¥500 million.

ADK won contracts for planning test events at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, the Equestrian Park and one other venue. Each contract was ¥29 million to ¥45 million, totaling about ¥100 million.

According to the sources, ADK voluntarily reported to the JFTC that there was prior coordination in connection to the bidding for the planning work.

Violations of the Antimonopoly Law could result in a surcharge payment order or criminal penalties, but if companies involved in big-rigging or cartels voluntarily report before or just after the JFTC starts its investigation, the surcharge might be reduced or exempted, and criminal charges could be withheld.

“We are not in a circumstance to talk about this,” ADK Holdings President Toshiya Oyama said in response to The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday. “No comment.”

According to the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, which is being liquidated, the nine companies and one organization that secured contracts for planning test events had also signed negotiated contracts with the committee for carrying out these events as well as the actual Games events. The negotiated contracts are thought to total tens of billions of yen.

“We cannot disclose the amount,” a person with the organizing committee said when asked by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Three former executives of ADK, including former president Shinichi Ueno, were indicted Nov. 9 on charges of offering bribes to Haruyuki Takahashi, a former executive board member of the organizing committee, who has been indicted by prosecutors for multiple counts of accepting bribes.