Coates admits concern over Tokyo 2020 payment

Allegations Tokyo 2020 made a corrupt payment to Singapore-based firm Black Tidings are a “concern”, International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates has admitted.

However he stressed that there is “no reason” to doubt the reasons given for the controversial transaction.

Coates, who heads up the IOC’s Coordination Commission for the Games in four years’ time, reiterated their co-operation with any investigations and claimed results of the probe being conducted by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) could come within a month.

A three-strong investigatory team, featuring two lawyers and a chartered accountant, held their first meeting today concerning the transactions totalling $2 million (£1.3 million/€1.7 million) given to Black Tidings before the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in 2013, where Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games.

The company has ties to Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations President Lamine Diack.

The fact that Lamine was a voting IOC member when Tokyo was elected as host raises the possibility the transfers were a bribe paid to secure the support of the Senegalese and others under his influence.

JOC President Tsunekazu Takeda has long stressed that the payment was “done by the book” and has denied any wrongdoing.

Takeda, who led the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee and is also an IOC member, insisted the payment was “necessary” and was for legitimate consultancy work.

Coates also confirmed the IOC would not launch its own investigation and would “rely” on those which have been initiated by the JOC and also the French police, who are also studying the payment.

The authorities in France are scrutinising the issue as part of their investigation into the Diack family, who are accused of using the same account to channel money received in return for covering up failed doping tests in athletics.