On Tuesday , French police searched the headquarters of the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics organising committee as part of an investigation into possible embezzlement of public funds.
The investigation is focused on the alleged embezzlement of funds from a government agency responsible for urban development projects in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, where many of the Olympic facilities will be located. Paris 2024 officials have denied any wrongdoing and said they are fully cooperating with the investigation.
The committee, which is responsible for organizing the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, has faced criticism over budget issues and delays in construction of some of the facilities. France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s Office has been investigating the case for several months and has already questioned several people, including the former head of the government agency and a businessman.
The search of the Paris 2024 headquarters is the latest development in the ongoing investigation, and it is unclear what evidence, if any, was found during the search.
The total budget of the Games has soared to more than 8.8 billion euros ($14 billion) from an initial assessment of about 6.6 billion euros ($10.6 billion) in 2017. This total cost does not include security, which France’s supreme audit institution has estimated to at least 400 million euros.
The infrastructure alone is expected to cost 4 billion euros from an original estimate of about 3.2 billion euros even though the majority of the events will be held in existing venues
It is not the first time that Olympics organisers have been the subject of an investigation.
Japanese prosecutors earlier this year indicted 6 companies, and 7 individuals, over suspected rigging of bids worth $US320 million ($470 million) for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics are scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11 and August 28 to September 8, respectively.