September 30, 2023

PARIS (AP) — French police searched the Paris Olympic organizers’ headquarters on Tuesday as a part of corruption investigations into contracts linked to the Video games, in line with prosecutors, the third straight time graft allegations have dogged a Summer time Olympics.

The Paris organizing committee stated in a press release {that a} search was carried out at its headquarters within the suburb of Saint-Denis and it was cooperating with investigators. It defended what it known as “stringent procedures” round a number of hundred contracts it has awarded for the Video games.

Tuesday’s search and different associated raids had been linked to 2 preliminary investigations of the Paris Olympics, in line with an official with the monetary prosecutor’s workplace, who was not approved to be publicly named in line with workplace coverage. One probe was opened in 2017 — the yr Paris was picked by the Worldwide Olympic Committee because the 2024 host — and the opposite started final yr.

Neither investigation had been made public till Tuesday.

Corruption allegations have hung over the world’s largest sporting occasion many occasions — from accusations surrounding how the Video games had been awarded to how contracts for building, sponsorship and crew companies had been handed out.

Accusations of vote shopping for linked to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the Tokyo Video games in 2021 led to the removing of a number of members of the IOC. Scandals across the 2002 Salt Lake Metropolis Winter Video games led to reforms that restricted IOC members’ contact with candidate international locations, although didn’t totally take away the scope for corruption.

However Paris 2024 had gone to lengths to show it could be completely different. The largest occasion France is internet hosting in many years, the Video games are being billed as a celebration of openness after two Olympics closed off by the COVID-19 pandemic, and for instance of democratic celebration after two World Cups tainted by human rights considerations in Qatar and Russia.

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The organizers and Paris metropolis corridor have pressured a spirit of transparency and social justice — together with planning a gap ceremony open air alongside the Seine River that will likely be free for as much as half one million folks. The Video games are scheduled for July 26-Aug. 11, 2024.

Saccage 2024, an anti-Olympics group that argues that the Video games trigger widespread ecological and social harm, stated it was “more than happy” the raids occurred.

“For us, an occasion of Olympic proportions can’t be held with out corruption,” the group stated in a press release. “It’s the dimensions of the occasion that makes it vital, regardless of the nation.”

The probe opened in 2017 is wanting into suspected embezzlement of public funds and favoritism, and considerations about an unspecified contract reached by Paris organizers, the prosecutor’s workplace stated.

The 2022 investigation adopted an audit by the French Anti-corruption Company. The prosecutor’s workplace stated that case targets suspected battle of curiosity and favoritism involving a number of contracts reached by the organizing committee and Solideo, the general public physique in control of Olympic infrastructure.

That physique’s workplaces had been additionally searched, prosecutors stated. In line with Le Monde newspaper, raids additionally occurred on the headquarters of a number of firms and consultants linked to the group of the Video games.

Solideo oversees building and renovation of greater than 60 initiatives for the multibillion-dollar Olympics — together with the athletes’ village within the Saint-Denis neighborhood that’s set to offer about 2,000 housing items after the video games.

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Paris 2024 organizers wouldn’t touch upon the contracts talked about by prosecutors or the alleged wrongdoing. In a press release, Paris 2024 described itself “as one of the audited organizations in France,” with common monitoring of its governance and difficult procedures aimed toward “transparency and propriety” round contracts.

The IOC stated in a press release that it was knowledgeable by the organizers that they’re cooperating with authorities. It didn’t remark additional.

The raids unfolded because the IOC govt board started a two-day assembly in Lausanne, Switzerland.

IOC president Thomas Bach instructed reporters early Monday the assembly “in fact will likely be about Paris, the place we have now some excellent news after the go to of the coordination mission and after my go to to France, to President Macron, and likewise the organizing committee.”

Paris was awarded its Olympics six years in the past — and on the similar time the IOC additionally rewarded its solely remaining bid rival, Los Angeles, with the 2028 Summer time Video games.

Avoiding a contested vote eliminated the scope for vote-trading and bribery in a course of that has since modified once more to successfully shut down public campaigning. Brisbane was picked two years in the past because the 2032 Summer time Video games host after being pre-selected by the IOC to get unique negotiating rights.

With the IOC vastly delicate about value overruns and potential white-elephant venues, Paris bid leaders insisted throughout their marketing campaign for internet hosting rights that their mission was in step with IOC suggestions encouraging using current services and infrastructure to economize.

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Greater than 70% of the proposed venues within the Paris bid had been current services, with an extra 25% being momentary buildings. However the general funds, together with the price of constructing and renovating venues, is about 8 billion euros ($8.2 billion) and has already gone up from its unique estimate, partially due to excessive inflation.

The runup to the 2024 Video games has seen turmoil in French sports activities.

Simply final month, the president of the French Olympic Committee resigned following a interval of intense infighting.

Additionally, Noël Le Graët resigned as president of the French soccer federation in February after a authorities audit discovered he not had the legitimacy to guide due to his habits towards ladies and his administration model. Bernard Laporte resigned as president of the French Rugby Federation in January after he was convicted of corruption and illegally buying belongings and handed a suspended jail sentence.

Final October, Claude Atcher was fired as chief govt of the Rugby World Cup. That occasion opens in France in September, and likewise will function a take a look at of France’s safety preparations for the Olympics. Atcher’s removing adopted an investigation by French labor inspectors into his office conduct.


Dunbar contributed from Geneva. AP Sports activities Author Samuel Petrequin reported from Brussels.


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