PARIS – The French financial police searched the site of the Paris 2024 Olympics on Tuesday morning as part of an investigation into the award of public contracts.
In an internal staff email seen by POLITICO, the organizing committee said the searches were being carried out by « criminal police and prosecutorial teams » who were « collecting documents ».
The prospect of potential corruption involving contracts could deal a blow to the reputation of French President Emmanuel Macron, who has stressed out to his ministers the importance of a success at the Paris Olympics, which were awarded to the French capital in July 2017, a few months after his first election.
In March, Macron She said the goal of the Paris Games should aim to « welcome the world in the best possible conditions of security, organisation, social and ecological responsibility ».
In a statement, Paris 2024 said: “A police search is currently underway at the headquarters of the Organizing Committee. Paris 2024 is fully collaborating with the investigators to facilitate their investigations. »
Contacted by POLITICO, the French financial prosecutor (PNF) confirmed that the raids were taking place in « several locations », including the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee and those of Solideo, the public body in charge of building the Olympics in Paris sites.
The raids are part of two « preliminary investigations » into suspicions of misappropriation of public funds and favoritism concerning several public contracts awarded by both Solideo and the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee.
The cabinet of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who is also chair of Solideo’s board, told POLITICO that investigators had not been in contact with her at this stage.
The headquarters of several private companies that have won public contracts were also raided on Tuesday, the PNF said.
« We know that there was a police search today at the Paris 2024 headquarters. We have been informed by Paris 2024 that they are fully cooperating with the authorities in this matter and we refer you to them for further information, » a spokesman for the Committee said. international olympic.
Brigitte Henriques, president of the French National Olympic Committee, dramatically announced his resignation last month, after infighting left the committee in turmoil.
The Olympic Games, one of the world’s top sporting events, have been overshadowed by organizational misconduct in the recent past. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics was marked by scandalin which a top Japanese advertising executive was arrested on multiple charges of accepting bribes from officials of other companies.
As a result, Paris 2024 was the first Olympics to have an anti-corruption policy for the organization of the Games, in partnership with International transparency.
But in 2021, the French anti-corruption agency warned there were risks of « conflicts of interest » within the Paris Olympic Committee and Solideo, citing « imprecise, incomplete » procedures that were « insufficiently respected and monitored ».
The Paris 2024 Games will take place from 26 July to 11 August.
This story has been updated.