Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee executive arrested in a bribery case involving a sponsorship contract for a clothes retailer, may also have been asked to favor publishing company Kadokawa Corp., a source familiar with the matter said Saturday.
The publishing company gave 70 million yen ($500,000) to an entity run by his acquaintance and prosecutors are looking into why the money was paid and whether all or part of the amount was transferred to anyone, the source said.
The sum given to the entity was described as a consulting fee after the publisher became a sponsor for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in April 2019, which enabled it to publish the Summer Games' official guidebooks and records.
According to the source, the acquaintance may have asked Takahashi to help Kadokawa be chosen as a sponsor.
Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, the publishing company's chairman, told Kyodo News in August that he did not know whether the company was being investigated by prosecutors.
Takahashi, 78, is also suspected of receiving bribes totaling around 51 million yen from the clothing retailer Aoki Holdings Inc., in exchange for preferential treatment in the process of selection as an Olympic sponsor.
Prosecutors believe Takahashi, who is also a former senior managing director of Japan's largest advertising agency, Dentsu Inc., held considerable sway over the organizing committee's marketing division.
The division, which was in charge of selecting sponsors for the summer games, borrowed many Dentsu employees.
Takahashi has denied the allegations regarding his relationship with Aoki, claiming he was paid for above-board consulting work.
Meanwhile, prosecutors are also investigating the possibility that Hironori Aoki, the retailer's former chairman, gave funds to Yoshiro Mori, then-president of the games organizing committee, to get the sponsorship.
The Olympics and Paralympics were originally scheduled to be held in 2020 but were postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic.