Paris 2024 Organising Committee President Tony Estanguet under investigation

The French judiciary has opened an investigation into the former canoeist and president of the Paris Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop), Tony Estanguet. 

According to a source close to the case, as reported by AFP, the Olympic medallist is being investigated over the terms of his remuneration for his work in organising the Games, which the French capital will host from next July. The investigation was launched by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF). The judicial police were given the task “last week”, according to this source, less than six months before the Olympic event. 

Contacted by AFP, the Ministry of Public Affairs refused to confirm or deny “the existence of a possible preliminary investigation into the remuneration of Tony Estanguet”.

“The organising committee is astonished to discover this information,” Cojop told AFP, claiming that the president’s salary is “very strictly regulated”. The Olympic canoeing medallist will receive €270,000 gross ($290,200) until 2020, according to figures provided by Cojop in 2018, a remuneration that could vary by 20% depending on certain objectives. 

The incompatibility lies in the fact that, according to the legal status of the committee in France, the remuneration should have been lower. According to a recent article in the weekly Le Canard Enchaîné, the athlete then set up a company to invoice the committee he heads for “non-commercial services”. 

This raises questions about “the control of the reality and quality of the services” provided by Estanguet’s company, the newspaper pointed out in October.

“The first board of directors of the organising committee decided and validated the remuneration of Tony Estanguet on 2 March 2018, in his absence, in a sovereign and independent manner,” said Cojop. 

At the beginning of 2021, two reports by the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFD) on the organisation of the Olympic Games highlighted “risks” of lack of probity and “conflicts of interest”. In one of these reports, the AFD mentioned Estanguet’s company as an “atypical structure” that was “not without difficulties”, recalls Le Canard Enchaîné. 

This is not the only case being investigated by the French justice system, which has opened three other inquiries into the financial management of the organisation of the Olympic Games on suspicion of “favouritism and misappropriation of funds in the award of contracts”.

Leave a reply