Police raid headquarters of Paris Olympics organizers

By AFP   June 20, 2023 | 02:03 am PT
Police raid headquarters of Paris Olympics organizers
The logo of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics Games is seen on an official toy mascot at the Doudou et Compagnie factory in La Guerche-de-Bretagne near Rennes in Brittany, France, April 12, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Stephane Mahe
Police raided the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics on Tuesday just over a year out from the opening ceremony of the quadrennial sporting showpiece.

Raids were carried out at the headquarters of the committee, which is known as Cojo, and at the offices of Solideo, the body in charge of the Olympic construction sites, a source close to the investigation told AFP.

The reason for the raid was not immediately clear but Cojo said they were "cooperating fully with the investigators in order to facilitate their investigation."

This is the first such raid on the organizing committee headquarters.

The searches of their premises were conducted by anti-corruption and financial crime investigators and the BRDE, the financial brigade of the Parisian police, another source close to the probe said.

Two years ago two reports by the French anti-corruption agency (AFA) highlighted "risks affecting probity" and "conflicts of interests" which it warned could impinge on the "whiter than whiter" image of the Games that the head of the organising committee, Tony Estanguet, wished for.

AFA inspectors said the procedure for purchases was "imprecise and incomplete" and emphasised that there "exists sometimes potential situations of conflicts of interests which are not overseen correctly."

The raids are the latest drama to affect French sports in the past year.

In May, Brigitte Henriques surprised many by resigning as the president of France's National Olympic Committee.

Henriques' departure led the IOC to issue a statement that "calls on everybody to take responsibility so that the internal arguments that have affected the CNOSF these past few months cease."

A successor is yet to be named.

Several federations -- football, rugby, gymnastics and tennis -- have become embroiled in scandals.

There have been two high-profile resignations as a result -- the octogenarian president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, stepped down in February following accusations of sexual and psychological harassment.

That came just two months after France lost in the final of the football World Cup in Qatar.

Former sports minister and French rugby coach Bernard Laporte also quit his role as president of the French Rugby Federation in January after being convicted of corruption -- months away from France hosting the men's Rugby World Cup.

The Paris Olympics will open on July 26, 2024 and run until August 11.

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