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French police broaden investigation into Olympic bidding

By Shawn Price   |   March 2, 2016 at 3:33 AM

PARIS, March 2 (UPI) -- The bidding and voting process for the 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympics is being investigated by French financial prosecutors.

The same group of prosecutors that investigated corruption in the International Assn. of Athletics Federations last year has now turned its attention to potential corruption in the awarding of the Rio and Tokyo Olympics.

A January report by the World Anti-Doping Agency suggested Japanese officials allegedly paid several million dollars to the IAAF that might have influenced the organization's former president Lamine Diack to vote in favor of Tokyo instead of Istanbul for the 2020 games.

The Japanese Olympic Committee has denied knowing of any such payout. Diack has been arrested and an international warrant has been being issued for Diack's son and the organizations former marketing consultant, Papa Massata Diack.

It's a bad sign for the International Olympic Committee that argued it has cleaned up it's bidding process after the bribery scandal in 1999 that tainted the Salt Lake City winter games.

The Guardian reported Papa Massata Diack allegedly arranged in 2008 for "parcels" to be sent to six IOC members during the bidding process for the 2016 Olympics. An email suggested the IOC members wanted "to have their parcels delivered through Special Adviser in Monaco" that allegedly was Lamine Diack.

Diack Sr, is accused of receiving more than 1 million Euros in bribes to hide positive drug tests of Russian athletes. The junior Diack is accused of arranging the bribe payments.

Diack allegedly switched his support from Istanbul to Tokyo's bid after a Japanese sponsor signed a deal with the IAAF.

"The IOC has been in close contact with the French prosecutors since the beginning of this investigation last year," an IOC spokeman said. "The IOC's chief ethics and compliance officer had already asked for the IOC to be fully informed in a timely manner of all issues that may refer to Olympic matters and has already applied to become a party to the investigations led by the French judicial authorities."

Rio 2016 organizers insist there are no allegations against its bid.

"Rio won the Games because it had the best project, both from the point of view of the organisation of Games and the legacy," said a Rio spokesperson. "Rio beat Madrid by a clear margin of 66-32 [votes], which excludes any possibility of a manipulated election."

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