Corruption allegations regarding the organisation of 2024 Paris Olympic Games

The 2024 Paris Olympic Games are facing several raids, taking place as part of two judicial investigations.

One was opened in 2017, and concerns suspicions of illegal taking of interests, misappropriation of public funds, favouritism and concealment of favouritism. It concerns several contracts awarded by the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG) and the 2024 GIP (bid committee).  The investigation has been entrusted to police officers from the Central Office for Combating Corruption and Financial and Tax Offences.

The other was opened in 2022, following an audit by the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA), which uncovered possible irregularities in certain public contracts awarded by the OCOG and Solideo (the company responsible for delivering the Olympic facilities). The investigation was entrusted to the economic crime squad (“brigade de répression de la délinquance économique”) and relates to illegal taking of interest, favouritism and concealment of favouritism.

It was as part of this latest investigation that a raid was carried out on the OCOG’s premises on 23 June.

The following day, further raids took place at the offices of Keneo, a consultancy specialising in sports, as part of the previous investigation. The investigators reportedly requested documents relating to the relationship between Keneo and the OCOG prior to 2020.

The former management of Keneo is concerned by this investigation. Édouard Donnelly, who became the OCOG’s executive director of operations in November 2022, was Keneo’s chief executive between 2015 and 2018, while Etienne Thobois, the OCOG’s first chief executive, was Keneo’s founder and had also run the company.

Other raids were carried out at their homes, even though the Games Ethics Committee had ruled out any risk of a conflict of interest between the OCOG and Keneo.

Against this backdrop, the French Minister for Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, said she was confident that the investigations and the Games would be take place smoothly.

It is not the first time that the organisation of the Olympic Games comes under scrutiny. The Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2020) Games also had their share of scandals.

The former president of the Rio OCOG, Carlos Nuzman, was sentenced to thirty years in prison for corruption, money laundering and evading taxes, while the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games were the subject of a judicial enquiry into marketing agencies giving bribes in exchange for rigged contracts and invitations to tender.