French police searched the headquarters of the Paris Olympic organizers on Tuesday as part of ongoing corruption investigations related to contracts associated with the Games. This marks the third instance of corruption allegations haunting a Summer Olympics. Read the full story.
The Paris organizing committee confirmed the search in a statement, stating that they are cooperating with the investigators. The committee emphasized implementing rigorous procedures for the numerous contracts awarded for the Games.
The search carried out on Tuesday, and related raids are connected to two previously undisclosed preliminary investigations involving the Olympics, updated by CNN.
French Police revealed this information on the condition of anonymity due to office policy. One of the probes was initiated in 2017 when Paris was selected as the host city by the International Olympic Committee for the 2024 event, while the other investigation began last year. These investigations had just been made public.
Corruption allegations have plagued the world’s largest sporting event numerous times, ranging from concerns surrounding the initial awarding of the Games to distributing contracts for construction, sponsorship, and team services.
Previous instances of vote buying associated with the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2021 Tokyo Games led to the removal of several IOC members. These scandals brought back memories of the controversies surrounding the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, which prompted reforms to limit IOC members’ interactions with candidate countries, albeit without completely eradicating the potential for corruption.
Paris 2024 made extensive efforts to demonstrate its commitment to a different approach. As the most significant event hosted by France in decades, the Games are positioned as a celebration of openness following two Olympics affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also intended to demonstrate democratic values following concerns about human rights violations during the World Cups held in Qatar and Russia.
The organizers and the Paris city hall have emphasized transparency and social justice, even planning an outdoor opening ceremony along the Seine that will be free for up to 500,000 people. The Games are scheduled from July 26 to August 11, 2024.
Saccage 2024, an anti-Olympics group that argues the Games lead to widespread ecological and social harm, expressed satisfaction with the raids. In a statement, the group asserted that an event of Olympic magnitude could not occur without corruption, emphasizing the scale of the event as the driving factor, regardless of the host country.