– Japanese prosecutors and a fair trade watchdog on Tuesday searched units of major ad agencies ADK Holdings Inc. and Dentsu Group Inc. on suspicion of bid rigging for contrasting test events of the year’s Tokyo Olympics. past, local media reported.
The investigation into ADK Marketing Solutions Inc. and Dentsu Live Inc. came after prosecutors searched six other companies, including Japan’s largest advertising agency Dentsu and second-largest Hakuhodo Inc., on Friday and Monday for the bidding for contracts awarded to nine companies. according to Kyodo News.
There are allegations of manipulation of 26 open tenders for the right to organize 56 test events held in 2018, the amount of the contracts amounting to about 3.9 million US dollars, the outlet reported.
Statistics from the Tokyo metropolitan government showed that the value of all contracts signed with the nine companies for services related to real game tests and events totaled at least US$144.98 million. Prosecutors are investigating the further possibility of collusion in agreeing contracts for large sums, the outlet said, citing sources close to the matter.
The organizing committee, which created a list of advertising agencies and event firms and categorized them into groups according to their respective expertise in each sport, is suspected of sharing and using the list to organize winning bidders, the sources said.
Companies can face charges for violating antitrust laws if proven.
ADK Holdings, Japan’s third-largest advertising agency, and Dentsu Live said they will cooperate with the investigation. ■