French judiciary investigates Rio, Tokyo Olympic bids

Paris, March 2 (IANS) The French judiciary has widened the scope of its investigations into accusations of corruption levelled at former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack to include the circumstances of granting Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo the rights of organising the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics respectively.

When asked on Wednesday regarding the information revealed by British newspaper the Guardian, the French Minister of State for Sport, Thierry Braillard, highlighted the shift in the case overseen by anti-corruption judge Renaud van Ruymbeke, reports Efe.

According to the Guardian, Senegal’s Diack, a former honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and his son Pope Massata Diack are facing charges of mediating between cities bidding to host the Games and some members of the IOC.

Diack, 82, and several other top IAAF officials were arrested in France and are being investigated over allegations he took payments for deferring sanctions against Russian drugs cheats.

The decision to grant Rio the right to host the 2016 Olympic Games was taken in 2009, while Tokyo was announced as the host city of the 2020 games in 2013.

In an interview with France Info radio, Braillard stressed that the investigations have been opened into a possible impact on the decision-making process regarding attributing the rights of organising the games to Rio and Tokyo, and confirmed that it has nothing to do with the current members of the IOC.

Braillard said, according to what he understood, the investigations are basically targeting Diack, who was accused last November by judge van Ruymbeke of receiving money from the Russian federation to cover up the Russian athletes’ doping cases.

The French minister denied any doubts concerning the fairness of the current members of the IOC.

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