The “Don of the Olympics” has finally been caught.
On August 17, Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, former director of the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, was arrested by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office. He is suspected of accepting approximately 51 million yen in bribes in return for favors to AOKI Holdings, a major men’s clothing company that sponsored the Games. Since his days at Dentsu, a major advertising agency, Takahashi had built up a strong network with sports organizations in various countries and had great power.
In September 2005, about a year before the sponsorship of the Olympics was decided, “Commons,” Takahashi’s consulting company, and “AOKI” signed a contract. Commons’ and ‘AOKI’ signed a contract. Commons received 51 million yen in “advisory fees” and other payments over a four-year period. In October 2006, AOKI became an official supporter of the Olympics. AOKI sold officially licensed suits and earned huge profits.
Secret meeting with a big-name actress at a hotel
Since July of this year, the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s Special Investigation Department has conducted a series of raids on Takahashi’s home and the home of the former chairman of “AOKI. They apparently had a clear understanding of the “flow of money” based on the history of his securities account and other information.
The suspect’s life was lavish. He had a chauffeur-driven Jaguar when he was at Dentsu, and he had a private room at a luxury hotel in New York. He was once seen secretly meeting with a well-known actress at a hotel in Tokyo.
Takahashi’s name was first mentioned in May 2004. It was discovered that the bid committee had sent a total of 230 million yen to a company owned by the son of Lamin Diack, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2001, the year Tokyo was chosen to host the Olympics. The suspect who led the lobbying activities to the IOC was said to be Takahashi.
When “FRIDAY” interviewed Takahashi directly at the time, he exclaimed, “This kind of thing always happens!
This kind of thing always happens! It happens every time, no matter where the event is held. It happens everywhere. If we had to worry about it every single time, we wouldn’t be able to call the Olympics, and we wouldn’t be able to do it.
On August 16, the day before his arrest, a photographer for this magazine captured a glimpse of Takahashi’s fearless face.
A courtesy car pulled up in front of a mansion in Setagaya, Tokyo. As Takahashi emerged from his home, the suspect hid his face, but just before getting into the car, he glared at the assembled press. His frustration at being under investigation was evident.
By taking advantage of his immense power, the “Don of the Olympics” has ended up strangling himself.
Photographed by： Shinji Hasuo