Vote-buying claims cast shadow

LIMA • On the day that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hoped all eyes would be on the awarding of the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Games, it risked further embarrassment as fresh claims emerged surrounding the alleged buying of votes by bid teams for the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games.

Further scrutiny is set to be applied to those decisions after investigations suggested a central figure in the corruption scandal bought expensive watches and jewellery days after both votes.

The Guardian has seen documents which allege that Papa Massata Diack, the son of the disgraced former IOC member Lamine Diack, spent hundreds of thousands of euros in French jewellery shops around the time of the Rio and Tokyo campaigns.

The Brazilian federal prosecutors office, which compiled the documents based on French prosecutors' investigations, drew the conclusion that payments could have been made to Massata Diack by Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 "with the intention to buy votes and the support of Lamine Diack, who held particular influence within the IOC".

Last year, The Guardian also revealed a seven-figure payment from the Tokyo Olympics bid team to an account named Black Tidings, which was linked to Massata Diack. He has not responded to the latest allegations.

Meanwhile, Paris and Los Angeles officials saluted a victory for the Olympic movement after both cities were handed the hosting rights in a historic double award.

Paris 2024 bid co-leader Tony Estanguet was overcome with delight moments after IOC members on Wednesday unanimously approved a joint award that had been agreed in July.

"It's a magical, unique victory," he told reporters.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo spoke of her joy in bringing the Games back to the French capital - 100 years after it last hosted the Olympics in 1924.

Los Angeles leaders were equally ecstatic.

"This was the right answer, it was about fraternity, it was about friendship, it was about finding a win-win," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2017, with the headline 'Vote-buying claims cast shadow'. Print Edition | Subscribe