Dentsu raided over alleged Tokyo Games test event bid-rigging|Arab News Japan

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TOKYO: Japanese prosecutors and antitrust officials raided advertising agency Dentsu Inc. on Friday over suspected bid-rigging for contracts related to tests events for last year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Investigators from the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office and the Fair Trade Commission jointly searched Dentsu’s Tokyo headquarters and some other locations.

They suspect that Dentsu and several other companies rigged bids for the planning of test events ordered by the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee, in violation of the antimonopoly law.

Prosecutors earlier this year searched Dentsu as part of their investigation into allegations that Haruyuki Takahashi, a former organizing committee executive who once worked for the adverting agency, received bribes in relation to Games sponsorship contracts.

Dentsu, which played an influential role in the Games as the exclusive marketing agency for the organizing committee, is suspected of leading the bid-rigging. Event company Cerespo Co. <9625> was also searched in Friday’s raid.

Twenty-six competitive bids were held between May and August of 2018 for planning and planning assistance services for test events at Games competition venues.

Nine companies, including Dentsu, Cerespo and another ad agency, ADK Marketing Solutions Inc., and a business consortium won the deals for a total of 537 million yen, with each valued at 4 million to 59 million yen.

Of them, several companies, including Dentsu and ADK, are suspected of prearranging winners of the competitive bids, sources familiar with the matter said.

The winners of these deals later won orders for running test events and actual Tokyo Games events under negotiated contracts. As a result, a total of nearly 30 billion yen apparently went to the winners.

The suspicion of bid-rigging emerged in the process of investigating Takahashi’s bribery scandal. ADK has reported the bid-rigging to the FTC under a leniency program that exempts companies that voluntarily report their anticompetitive practices from penalties.

The prosecutors and antitrust officials are also looking into whether there were any problems with the procedure for selecting contractors as Cerespo and other companies had dispatched senior officials to the organizing committee on loan.

JIJI Press

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