Japan's Kadokawa Corp paid arrested Olympic exec's associate -Kyodo

Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) then-board member Haruyuki Takahashi arrives at Tokyo 2020 Executive Board Meeting in Tokyo, Japan March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato/Pool

TOKYO, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Japanese publisher Kadokawa Corp, a sponsor for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, gave 70 million yen ($500,000) to a company linked to a central figure arrested in a growing bribery scandal around the Games, Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday.

Tokyo prosecutors are looking into the purpose of the payment and the flow of money from Kadokawa to a firm run by a friend of Haruyuki Takahashi, a former member of the Tokyo 2020 board, Kyodo said, citing a person it did not name for the information.

Takahashi, 78, is one of several people arrested on suspicion of bribery surrounding the Games, which were delayed a year due to the pandemic. read more

The company and prosecutors could not be reached for comment outside business hours.

The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office has previously said it would not comment on the cases.

Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, chairman of the publishing company, told reporters last month he was not aware his company was being investigated but that he was looking into the circumstances, Kyodo said.

The reported payment comes weeks after the arrest of Hironori Aoki, former chairman of fashion company Aoki Holdings (8214.T), on suspicion of bribery.

Kadokawa made the payment, labelled consultant fees, after it was named an Olympic sponsor in April 2019, Kyodo said.

Reuters reported in 2020 that Takahashi, who was paid millions of dollars to work on Tokyo's successful bid for the Olympics, said he played a key role in securing the support of a former Olympics powerbroker who was later suspected by French prosecutors of taking bribes to help Japan's bid.

Takahashi, a former executive at advertising giant Dentsu Group (4324.T), told Reuters at that time his work included lobbying International Olympic Committee member Lamine Diack who he gave gifts, including digital cameras and a Seiko watch.

He said there was nothing improper with the payments he received or with the way he used the money.

($1 = 140.2000 yen)

Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by William Mallard

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