Dentsu and five other firms have been charged for alleged bid-rigging in connection to the run-up to the 2021 summer Olympics. The investigation is part of a widening investigation into corruption surrounding the Olympic Games.
Following complaints from Japan’s Fair Trade Commission, prosecutors issued the indictments which alleged that Dentsu, Hakuhodo, along with four other firms including Tokyu Agency and Cerespo, and seven individuals rigged bids for Olympic test events.
“We determined that this is a malicious and serious case that will have a broad impact on people’s lives,” FTC investigator Goh Okumura told a media briefing reports MSNBC.
According to reports, executives or management-level officials at each of the companies, along with a Tokyo Olympic organizing committee official, are being charged with violating anti-monopoly laws.
No trial dates have been set.
Regarding the indictment of the company and an employee of its domestic subsidiary, Dentsu issued a statement saying that it “takes the situation seriously and offers its sincere apologies to its business partners, shareholders, and all other relevant parties for any inconvenience or concern this may cause.”
According to AP News, Tokyo organizers said $13 billion was spent to organize the 2020 Olympics, which were delayed a year by the COVID-19 pandemic. A government audit, however, suggests the expenditure might have been twice that with at least 60% being public money.
By colluding to select a single firm to bid, the prosecutors said in a charging statement, the participants “substantially limited competition.”