French investigators raid offices of Paris Olympic organizers in corruption probe

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach with Olympic flag behind him
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach speaks at the opening of an IOC meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
(Laurent Gullieron / Keystone)
Share via

French investigators searched the headquarters of Paris Olympic organizers Tuesday as part of corruption investigations into contracts linked to the Games, according to officials — the third consecutive time that graft allegations have dogged a Summer Olympics.

The Paris organizing committee said in a statement that a search was underway at its headquarters in the suburb of Saint-Denis and that “Paris 2024 is cooperating with the investigators to facilitate their investigations.” It would not comment further.

Tuesday’s search and other related raids were linked to two preliminary investigations related to the Olympics that had not previously been made public, according to an official with the French financial prosecutor’s office, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and requested anonymity. One probe was opened in 2017 — the year Paris was picked by the International Olympic Committee as the 2024 host — and the other began last year.


Corruption allegations have hung over the world’s biggest sporting event many times, including accusations surrounding how the Games were awarded to a host city and how contracts for construction, sponsorship and team services were handed out.

Accusations of vote buying linked to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games (held in 2021 because of the pandemic) led to the removal of several members of the International Olympic Committee.

Those scandals revived memories of ones surrounding the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, which led to reforms that limited IOC members’ contact with candidate countries but did not entirely remove the scope for corruption.

Fifty-seven percent of L.A. residents believe the 2028 Olympics will be good for the city, according to a Suffolk University/Los Angeles Times poll. Younger Angelenos are more skeptical.

March 21, 2023

Paris 2024 had gone to lengths to prove that it would be different. The biggest event France is hosting in decades, the Games are being billed as a celebration of openness after two Olympics closed off by the COVID-19 pandemic and as an example of democratic celebration after two World Cups tainted by human rights concerns in Qatar and Russia.

The organizers and Paris City Hall have stressed a spirit of transparency and social justice, including planning an opening ceremony outdoors along the River Seine that will be free for up to half a million people. The Games are scheduled for July 26-Aug. 11, 2024.

Saccage 2024, an anti-Olympics group that argues that the Games cause widespread ecological and social damage, said it was “very pleased” the raids took place.


“For us, an event of Olympic proportions cannot be held without corruption,” the group said in a statement. “It’s the size of the event that makes it necessary, whatever the country.”

An expensive cleanup is reviving the River Seine in time for it to star in the 2024 Paris Olympics. Immortalized in art, cherished by lovers, it had become toxic.

April 11, 2023

The probe opened in 2017 is looking into suspected embezzlement of public funds and favoritism and into concerns about an unspecified contract inked by Paris organizers, the prosecutor’s office said.

The 2022 probe followed an audit by the French Anti-corruption Agency. The prosecutor’s office said that the case focuses on suspected conflict of interest and favoritism involving several contracts between the organizing committee and Solideo, the public body in charge of Olympic infrastructure.

Solideo’s offices were also searched, prosecutors said. According to Le Monde newspaper, raids also took place at the headquarters of several companies and consultants linked to the organization of the Summer Games.

Solideo oversees construction and renovation or more than 60 projects for the multibillion-dollar Olympics — including the athletes’ village in the Saint-Denis neighborhood that is set to provide about 2,000 housing units after the Games.

The IOC said in a statement that it had been informed by the organizers that they were cooperating with authorities. It did not comment further.

The raids unfolded as the IOC executive board began a two-day meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.

IOC President Thomas Bach told reporters early Monday that 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 [Emmanuel] Macron and also the organizing committee.”

The IOC said it expected to release a statement Tuesday about the raids in Paris ahead of a previously scheduled online news briefing once its meeting closed for the day.

Tokyo Olympics organizers have placed the final cost of the Games at $13 billion, about twice of what was forecast when the IOC awarded them in 2013.

June 21, 2022

Paris was awarded its Olympics six years ago — and at the same time the IOC also rewarded its only remaining bid rival, Los Angeles, with the 2028 Summer Games.

Avoiding a contested vote removed the scope for vote-trading and bribery in a process that has since changed again to try to shut down public campaigning. Brisbane, Australia, was picked two years ago as the 2032 Summer Games host after being preselected by the IOC to get exclusive negotiating rights.


The run-up to the 2024 Games has seen turmoil in French sports.

Just last month, the president of the French Olympic Committee resigned following a period of intense infighting, prompting calls from organizers for sports leaders to set differences aside and focus on delivering the Games.

The International Olympic Committee says Jacques Rogge, who led the organization as president for 12 years, has died.

Aug. 29, 2021

Also, Noel Le Graet resigned as president of the French soccer federation in February after a government audit found that he no longer had the legitimacy to lead because of his behavior toward women and his management style. Bernard Laporte resigned as president of the French Rugby Federation in January after he was convicted of corruption and illegally acquiring assets and handed a suspended prison sentence.

In October, Claude Atcher was fired as chief executive of the Rugby World Cup. That event opens in France in September, and also will serve as a test of France’s security preparations for the Olympics. Atcher’s removal followed an investigation by French labor inspectors into his workplace conduct.