PARIS — The Paris Olympics organizing committee has expressed surprise that the salary of its president is reportedly being investigated by the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office.
According to French media, quoting the French agency AFP on Tuesday, the investigation into Tony Estanguet’s pay was handed to Paris police last week, less than six months before the Olympic Games open on July 26.
The financial prosecutor’s office, contacted by The Associated Press, declined to comment.
The Games organizing committee set Estanguet’s pay in 2018 at the end of its first board meeting. It was then reportedly agreed that the former three-time Olympic canoe champion would receive an annual pay of 270,000 euros gross until 2020, with possible extra incentives based on performance criteria that would not exceed 20% of annual salary.
“We wish to remind people that the organising committee president’s remuneration is subject to a strict framework,” Games organizers said on Tuesday in a statement.
The organizers added Estanguet’s income was decided independently, in line with the advice of a committee “made up of independent experts whose role is to ensure the appropriateness of our remuneration policy.”
The organizing committee said Estanguet’s payment terms were approved by France’s General Economic and Financial Control body, following consultation with the main body involved in the collection and distribution of social security contributions.
“All invoices connected to this remuneration are subject to an annual audit by the organizing committee’s independent internal audit unit as well as an inspection by the remuneration committee,” Games organizers said. “These measures are not legally imposed but correspond to an approach of voluntary transparency. In keeping with the approach we have always taken towards all oversight bodies, Paris 2024 is ready to answer questions regarding its management.”
The probe into Estanguet’s pay follows other investigations by financial prosecutors targeting the Games organizing committee.
In October, the organizers said their headquarters were again visited by French financial prosecutors investigating suspicions of favoritism, conflicts of interest and misuse of funds in the awarding of contracts.
The headquarters were first searched in June.
Financial investigators have been zeroing in on 20 or so of the many hundreds of business contracts that Olympic organizers have signed as they race to prepare the French capital for 10,500 athletes and millions of spectators.
AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games
Petrequin reported from Brussels