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IOC suspends Bularian amid coрruption claims
IOC suspends Bulgarian amid corruption claims
CTV.ca News Staff
Less than a week before the Olympic Games are set to begin in Athens, the International Olympic Committee has suspended a Bulgarian member over corruption allegations.
The alleged corruption was broadcast this week in a BBC television documentary. IOC member Ivan Slavkov was secretly videotaped talking about how potential host countries could buy votes in order to host the 2012 Summer Games.
The documentary also showed four lobbyists who said they could secure IOC members' vote for a price. The IOC said it is withdrawing any Olympic accreditations from those four agents as well. They are: Serbian-based Goran Takac, Gabor Komyathy of Hungary, Mahmood El Farnawani of Egypt and Abdul Muttaleb Ahmad of Kuwait.
El Farnawani had lived in Canada. He helped make headlines about Salt Lake City games vote-buying scandal and had worked on the failed Toronto bid.
The BBC reported he bragged bout brokering bribes, suggesting $1.4 million could buy 14 IOC votes.
"You see in front of you an angry man," Olympic president Jacques Rogge told reporters. "I'm angry because the behaviour of some is tarnishing a beautiful movement."
The IOC has said a full inquiry will follow Slavkov's suspension, and that he will be stripped of his accreditation to the Olympic Games.
Slavkov, 64, is denying any wrongdoing. He claims he knew the meeting was a setup and played along to show what he thought was an attempt to corrupt the process.
Rogge watched a tape of the BBC documentary on Thursday. He said he was determined to stamp out any ethical corruption.
Slavkov is the head of Bulgaria's Olympic committee and soccer federation. In 1996, he was acquitted of embezzling money from Bulgaria's Olympic Committee.
In 2000, the IOC cleared him of charges he was involved in a vote-selling scheme for the 2004 Olympics. The leader of Cape Town, South Africa said Slavkov offered his support to a businessman who claimed to be selling IOC member votes.
The allegations are the most serious ones the IOC has faced since the Salt Lake City scandal in 1998. That incident led to the removal of 10 IOC members after it was found they received cash and other gifts in exchange for awarding the games to Salt Lake City in 2002.
John Furlong of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee said his city won the winter games fair and square.
"The people who are running around saying they can get votes or offer money, I don't believe that is actually possible," he said. "You could never guarantee doing that. The members vote privately.
But Chris Shaw, who opposes the Vancouver games, said the latest corruption allegation was as "predictable as sunrise and sunset."
With a report from CTV's Sarah Galashan
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