French police raided the headquarters for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris as well as other sites tied to next year’s Olympics on Tuesday in connection with “two ‘preliminary investigations’ into financial improprieties with contracts and public funds,” CNN reported.
International Olympic Committee officials had little to say Tuesday about the raids.
“Transparency (and) cooperation are the two watchwords,” IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi told reporters in French, according to a simultaneous translation. He said the situation was “very tense. It was very difficult today.”
With the Paris organizing committee committed to those same watchwords, “there is only one thing we can do and that is to wait for the result of this inquiry,” Dubi said, adding he believes “Paris 2024 took the right attitude.”
CNN said the first investigation was opened in 2017, into “illegal conflict of interests, embezzlement of public funds, favoritism and concealment of favoritism targeting several contracts” awarded by the Paris 2024 organizing committee.
The second was opened in 2022 to examine charges of “illegal conflict of interest, favoritism and concealment of favoritism relating to several contracts” awarded by the Paris organizers and SOLIDEO, the public body responsible for Games construction projects.
CNN cited the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office as a source for the information.
A spokesman for Paris 2024, Jonathan Firpo, told CNN a “police search is currently underway at the headquarters of the Organizing Committee” and that “Paris 2024 is cooperating fully with the investigators to facilitate their investigations.”
“Several” sites were raided, according to the financial prosecutor’s office, CNN reported, including the Paris 2024 organizing committee’s headquarters in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis and the offices of SOLIDEO.
According to a BBC report, the British news organization “understands the police are looking into allegations of favoritism and misuse of public money in the attribution of construction contracts.”
The BBC also noted in May that France’s National Olympic Committee President Brigitte Henriques resigned without explanation amid reports of infighting “in a move that surprised many sports experts.”
Tuesday’s raids follow a scandal surrounding the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, delayed a year due to COVID-19. In April, several defendants were found guilty in the first verdicts handed down in the case involving bribes paid by companies seeking Tokyo sponsorships.