The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) Tsunekazu Takeda was placed under formal investigation in Paris last month for corruption, a spokeswoman for the Paris Financial Prosecutor told CNN Friday.
The investigation relates to the bidding process for the Olympic Games, with reports that a suspect payment of €1.8 million ($2 million) was made around the announcement that Tokyo was to host the 2020 Olympics.
Takeda, a former show jumper who competed at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, has been the president of the JOC since 2001 and was instrumental in Tokyo winning the right to host the Games. He’s also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“It appears that wrong information is being distributed about me indicted based on today’s article on Le Monde,” Takeda said in a statement. “There is no such description in the article, nor such a fact exist.”
Takeda acknowledged a sum had been paid to Singapore company Black Tidings for “fair compensation based on a consultant agreement.”
But he added: “I have explained there were no improper action that can be recognized as bribing has taken place.
“This has caused a great concern to the Japanese people who are supporting us for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. I plan to continue cooperating to the investigation in order to wipe off the concern.
“I would like to ask your understanding that detailed explanation would not be available due to ongoing investigation.”
The IOC says it has been in “close contact” with the French judicial authorities over the case.
“The IOC Ethics commission has opened a file and will continue to monitor the situation — and is meeting today. Mr. Takeda continues to enjoy the full presumption of innocence,” said a spokesperson.
“These allegations refer to events before the IOC introduced far reaching reforms. With the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 the IOC reinforced its code of ethics and introduced an approved list of consultants.”
The JOC told CNN it has no additional information. Takeda remains in his position as chairman.
Tokyo beat rival bids from Madrid and Istanbul in 2013 to host the Olympics for the second time.