l’essentiel Des perquisitions ont été menées mercredi par les enquêteurs financiers de l’Office central de lutte contre la corruption et les infractions financières et fiscales, au siège du Comité d’organisation des JO, ainsi que chez les sociétés d’événementiel Double 2, Ubi Bene, Obo et Paname 24.
A thunderbolt nine months before the 2024 Olympics: a new investigation by the national financial prosecutor’s office (PNF) is looking into suspicions of fraud surrounding the organization of the iconic opening ceremony, which led to searches on Wednesday, October 18. « No one was taken into custody, » however: « These operations are part of a preliminary investigation led by the PNF on charges of illegal conflict of interest, favoritism, and concealment regarding several contracts related to the 2024 Olympics, opened after the searches on June 20, 2023. »
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These initial operations before the summer were conducted as part of two other investigations also led by the PNF, focusing on suspicions of favoritism and misappropriation of public funds in the awarding of contracts by the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (Cojo) and the Solideo, the organization responsible for the construction of Olympic facilities. In these two procedures, investigators are looking into around twenty potentially contentious contracts.
But this time, as confirmed by one of the sources close to the case to AFP, the new procedure specifically targets the iconic opening ceremony of the Olympic Games scheduled for July 26, 2024, on the Seine in Paris, as well as the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games on August 28, 2024, on the lower part of the Champs-Elysées and at Place de la Concorde.
Les sociétés Double 2, Ubi Bene et Obo font partie du quintet d’agences de production événementielle françaises réunies sous le pavillon de Paname 2024 et chargées de ces cérémonies d’ouverture, dont celle du 26 juillet, inédite sur un fleuve et hors stade, qui représente un défi d’organisation et sécuritaire, et dont l’aspect artistique est ultra-confidentiel.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators on site, but also 1.5 billion television viewers are expected, Thierry Reboul, director of the Cojo ceremonies, announced to the press in mid-September.
The executive director of the ceremonies asks a question.
Several other markets would also be targeted by this investigation, including that of another iconic event, the Olympic torch relay. « Paris 2024 confirms that the PNF visited its headquarters on Wednesday, October 18, and obtained all the information it requested. Paris 2024 is fully cooperating with the investigation as it has always done, » the Cojo said in regards to Wednesday’s raid.
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In a December 2022 article, Mediapart highlighted the risk of conflicts of interest involving Thierry Reboul. Since 2018, he has been the executive director of ceremonies, events, and the Paris-2024 brand, as well as the conductor of this ambitious project. Prior to joining the Cojo, he was in charge of the event company Ubi Bene, which was founded in 2000.
At the time, on CB News, he stated that he had been offered to « set aside (his) greatest adventure for another, perhaps even more beautiful one, the games in Paris. » « I couldn’t say no, » he justified, announcing that he had sold his shares in the event company. Ubi Bene then joined forces with other event agencies to form the Paname 24 consortium, responsible for organizing the opening ceremonies.
« I cannot reword »
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In addition to these procedures, the PNF has also been investigating since September to verify the accusations of favoritism against the Deputy General Director of Cojo, Michaël Aloïsio, following a complaint from a former employee, Sébastien Chesbeuf, denouncing favoritism and influence peddling in the awarding of a public contract with the Paca region.
The financial prosecutor’s office also initiated a procedure in July to investigate the circumstances under which a former Bercy inspector allegedly rented family chalets in the Alps to Solideo, the organization he was responsible for overseeing.