Heads have started rolling in the Tokyo Olympics bid-rigging and bribery case that saw indictments handed out to all three advertising giants in Japan: Dentsu, ADK and Hakahudo.
In the latest, 69-year-old former ADK Holdings president, Shinichi Ueno has been sentenced to a two-year prison term and additionally suspended for four years. Prosecutors had sought two years in prison. The Tokyo District Courth found him guilty of bribing organising committee executive Haruyuki Takahashi with around US$100,000 (14 million yen) in 2021 to solicit sponsorship favours in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games.
Charged with violating the anti-monopoly law (unfair trade restriction), the court ruled that Ueno colluded with two subordinates, Shigeharu Hisamatsu, 64, and Toshiaki Tada, 61, to ensure ADK’s selection as a marketing agent for the global sporting event. The indictment said that bribes were doled out between November 2019 and January 2022 to a consulting firm headed by Takahashi.
Sentencing for Hisamatsu includes 18 months in prison followed by a three-year suspension, whilst Tada gets 12 months behind bars and a three-year suspension.
To give a refresher to the months-long high-profile corruption scandal surrounding the Tokyo Olympics, investigation for which lasted for the better part of 2022 and early ‘23, prosecutors in Tokyo indicted over 15 people, including Haruyuki Takahashi, 79, the former Tokyo Games organising committee executive accused of taking bribes from Ueno and others. With the latest ruling, nine of them have been found guilty.
It must be noted that in November 2022, ADK voluntarily confessed to the Fair Trade Commission for bid-rigging in the Games and offered to co-operate with the proceedings fully. With this, the firm had expected leniency, reduced fines, and avoided criminal charges.
However, presiding judge Masahiro Tomoshige of the Tokyo District Court noted that the former ADK president was fully aware of the illegality of giving money to Takahashi, saying it is unbelievable that his subordinates did not inform Ueno of an opinion by a corporate lawyer that it could constitute giving a bribe.
“Although Ueno admitted to the charges, he repeatedly made unreasonable excuses, putting the blame unfairly on the subordinates and showing no signs of sincere remorse,” the judge commented.
Campaign Asia-Pacific has reached out to ADK Group for a formal statement, but we did not hear back at the time of publishing this story.
(This article first appeared on CampaignAsia.com)