By Chris Gallagher and Jack Tarrant
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) chief Tsunekazu Takeda, who is expected to announce plans to step down on Tuesday, is also set to resign as a member of the International Olympics Committee, Kyodo News reported.
French prosecutors questioned Takeda in Paris and placed him under formal investigation in December for suspected corruption in Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Summer Games.
French investigators have led a years-long probe into corruption in athletics and in early 2016 extended their inquiry into the bidding and voting processes for the hosting of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Multi-million dollar payments made by the Tokyo bid committee to a Singapore consulting company are under probe and Takeda is suspected of paying bribes to secure the winning bid.
Takeda has denied any wrongdoing, saying that there was nothing improper with the contracts made between the committee and the consultancy and that they were for legitimate work.
Although there was no formal announcement of the 71-year-old’s resignation, Takeda is expected to announce his decision at the JOC’s executive board meeting in Tokyo later on Tuesday.
The IOC’s ethics commission has opened an ethics file on Takeda, who chairs the IOC’s marketing commission. Takeda has been a member of the IOC since 2012 and was president of the Tokyo 2020 bid committee.
(Reporting by Chris Gallagher and Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Sudipto Ganguly)