Japanese Ad Agencies Cooperating With Authorities In Bid-rigging Scandals

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ADK, Dentsu and Hakuhodo have confirmed the agencies are all cooperating with authorities following the raids by Japanese authorities in relation to allegations of bid-rigging for the Tokyo Olympics.

Japan’s biggest ad agencies are caught up in a bribery scandal from the Tokyo Olympics

Japan’s third-largest advertising agency, ADK has released multiple media statements following the arrests of its former representative director, president & group CEO, along with two other former staff.

ADK’s representative director, president & group CEO Shinichi Ueno, resigned from his position on 19 October and was replaced by Toshiya Oyama.

Ueno was arrested the same day, along with a former director and employee of ADK, on allegations they paid ¥47 million to Haruyuki Takahashi in return for selecting the agency as a marketing partner for a sponsor.

Takahashi, a former Tokyo Organising Committee member and, before this role, a former senior managing director at Dentsu Inc, faces four charges of bribery in relation to the Olympic Games.

A media statement from ADK titled “Regarding Certain Media Reports Today” confirmed the agency’s recent search by the Special Investigation Department of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Japan Fair Trade Commission and stated it was fully cooperating with the authorities.

“In response to the recent alleged bribery incident, the Company group has shifted to a new management structure as of October 20, 2022. The Company has already initiated and promoted efforts to rebuild its governance and compliance systems, including the establishment of an independent investigation committee, in order to regain the trust of our stakeholders. We will continue to fully cooperate with the investigations by the relevant authorities to resolve the case.”

ADK has established an independent investigation committee consisting of external board members and outside legal counsel to investigate the scandal after three former staff members were arrested for suspicion of involvement in bribery.

ADK aims to conduct a “fundamental investigation into the company’s governance structure and internal control system to prevent future incidents”.

“We will follow the reports and recommendations of the independent investigation committee, promptly reorganize our governance and compliance structures, and exert our utmost efforts to win back the trust of our clients and business partners.”

This week it was revealed that all three of Japan’s biggest advertising agencies Dentsu, Hakuhodo and ADK, were under investigation in relation to the allegations against Takahashi.

In a statement to The Drum, a Dentsu spokesperson said, “We continue to fully cooperate with this investigation.”

A Hakuhodo spokesperson told The Drum that the company were unable to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

“In the meantime, we offer our most sincere apologies to all parties involved in this issue and will be fully cooperating with the authorities.”

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