October 3, 2023

Japanese authorities said the companies falsified bids for 26 contracts worth $3.95 million.

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The Japan Antitrust Authority has filed criminal lawsuits against a number of advertising firms and individuals over alleged corruption in the planning and marketing of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission said on Tuesday it had filed a complaint against six firms and seven individuals after it determined the “malicious and serious case” would have a “wide impact on people’s lives.”

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The six advertising firms named in the complaint are Dentsu, Hakuhodo DY Holdings, Tokyu Agency Inc, Fuji Creative Corporation, Cerespo Co and Same Two Inc.

The move comes after months of authorities investigating allegations that the companies conspired to falsify bids for events ahead of the Olympics, in violation of Japan’s antitrust laws.

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Authorities allege that 26 allegedly open tenders worth 538 million Japanese yen ($3.95 million) were conducted in the course of the rigged bidding.

Earlier this month, prosecutors arrested a former Tokyo Olympics organizing committee official and executives from Dentsu, Fuji Creative and Cerespo in connection with the case.

On Friday, Dentsu chief executive Hiroshi Igarashi admitted to prosecutors that his company had falsified bids for contracts related to the Games, Kyodo News reported, citing unnamed sources close to the matter.

Dentsu, Cerespo and Fuji Creative have already received a nine-month ban from bidding on contracts in several ministries.

The scandal follows the arrest last year of Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Olympics board member and Dentsu executive, on suspicion of accepting bribes from sponsors.

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Executives from advertising firm ADK Holdings, clothing retailer Aoki Holdings and publishing company Kadokawa were also arrested in connection with the bribery case.