According to officials, French investigators searched the Paris Olympic organizers’ headquarters on Tuesday as a part of corruption investigations into contracts linked to the Games.
The Paris organizing committee released a short statement confirming that the search at their headquarters was underway in the suburb of Saint-Denis, and did not comment further.
The Tuesday search is also linked to two preliminary investigations related to the Olympics, that before this point have not been made public. According to an official with the financial prosecutor’s office, one previous probe was opened in 2017, and the other began last year.
The Olympic Games have dealt with a multitude of corruption allegations throughout the past decades.
For Paris 2024, the Games are being seen as a celebration of openness after two Olympics were closed off by the pandemic.
Organizers and Paris officials have stressed their commitment to transparency and social justice initiatives. The opening ceremony will be outdoors along the Seine which will be free for up to half a million people. The Games are currently scheduled to occur from July 26th to August 11th 2024.
The anti-Olympics group Saccage 2024, argues that the Games cause ecological and social damage, and have claimed that they are “very pleased” hearing the news of the recent raids in Paris, according to ESPN.
“For us, an event of Olympic proportions cannot be held without corruption. It’s the size of the event that makes it necessary, whatever the country.”
The prosecutor’s office has stated, according to ESPN, “the probe opened in 2017 is looking into suspected embezzlement of public funds and favoritism, and concerns about an unspecified contract reached by Paris organizers.”
The 2022 probe followed an audit made by the French Anti-corruption Agency. The prosecutor’s office has also stated that this case targets a suspected conflict of interest and favoritism involving contracts reached by the organizing committee and the public body in charge of Olympic infrastructure.
The IOC said in a statement it was “informed by the organizers that they are cooperating with authorities.”
IOC president Thomas Bach told reporters early Monday the meeting “of course will be about Paris, where we have some good news after the visit of the coordination mission and after my visit to France, to President Macron, and also the organizing committee.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.