The head of Japan's Olympic Committee is being formally investigated by French financial prosecutors over allegations of paying bribes to secure the 2020 Games for Tokyo
revealed in 2016, the French authorities had discovered payments from a Japanese bank account called 'Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Bid' to the Singapore-based Black Tidings company at the centre of the corruption scandal in athletics and suspected of laundering money extorted from drug cheats in the sport.
Indeed the national financial parquet (PNF) in Paris confirmed they were examining two payments to a company with links to Papa Massata Diack – the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack and someone who remains in hiding in Senegal - totalling £1.4million that were made either side of the 2020 Games vote in Buenos Aires in 2013.
In 2016 a Tokyo 2020 spokesperson said 'the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has no means of knowing these allegations', even though Organising Committee vice-chairman Tsunekazu Takeda had been president of the bid.
But on Friday it emerged that Takeda had been indicted by the PNF, a criminal investigation formally launched last month.
A spokesperson for the French financial prosecutor has confirmed that Takeda, a former Olympian who is also the chairman of the International Olympic Committee's marketing commission, was charged by an investigating judge on December 10.
In a statement Takeda said he had been questioned by the French authorities but denies the accusations.
On Friday the IOC confirmed that its ethics commission had opened a file on the investigation and will 'continue to monitor the situation', adding that 'Mr Takeda continues to enjoy the full presumption of innocence'.
Tokyo beat rival cities Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said she was 'very surprised' by the news of the investigation.
Takeda, 71, has long been involved in the Olympics movement, having competed as a show jumper in the 1972 and 1976 games. His great-grandfather was the Emperor Meiji and he is the current emperor's second cousin.
He has been a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee since 1987 and its president since 2001, helping to coordinate the preparations for several Winter Olympics as a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Takeda attended a ceremony in Tokyo on Friday along with former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020, according to Mori's office.