Salt Lake City panel details widening Olympics scandal

Eight IOC delegates newly implicated in report on corruption

February 10, 1999|By BOSTON GLOBE

SALT LAKE CITY -- A quarter of the International Olympic Committee's members -- far more than had been suspected -- received improper payoffs or gifts from the Salt Lake bidders before and after the awarding of the 2002 Winter Games, according to the organizing committee's ethics panel.

A 300-page report released yesterday dramatically broadened what is already the worst scandal in modern Olympic history, alleging that 21 of the 82 members who voted in 1995 accepted inducements worth nearly $1 million, ranging from cash to college tuition and jobs for children to expensive vacation trips.

Nine of the members have resigned or will be expelled at next month's IOC special session at its Swiss headquarters. Three are already under investigation; one has been formally warned. But the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) report provides eight new names, including:

Seiuli Paul Wallwork of Western Samoa, whose wife received a $30,000 loan with no record of repayment.

Shagdarjav Magvan of Mongolia, whose son received $5,800 in travel expenses, $762 in tuition payments, and an internship with a Salt Lake bank.

Austin Sealy of Barbados, who received monthly payments of $3,000 from an agency linked to former U.S. Olympic Committee senior director Alfredo LaMont.

Anani Matthia of Togo, Ashwini Kumar of India, and Ram Ruhee of Mauritius, whose family members had expenses paid to the IOC meeting in Budapest, Hungary, where the vote was taken.

Phillip Coles of Australia and Willi Kaltschmitt of Guatemala, whose families were treated to Super Bowl trips.

The report also provides fresh information on two members already under scrutiny -- Kim Un-Yong, an IOC vice president from South Korea, and Louis Guirandou N'Diaye of the Ivory Coast.

Kim's son received $100,000 from a job with a Salt Lake telecommunications company and his daughter received $5,000 for a piano performance with the Utah Symphony. A Russian woman recommended by Kim also received $15,000 in tuition to the University of Utah. N'Diaye's daughter had her expenses paid to the meeting in Budapest.

The ethics panel also confirmed payoffs made to members who have already resigned or been forced out. Among them, Jean-Claude Ganga of the Republic of Congo and his family received more than $250,000 in cash, medical care, travel, and gifts. David Sibandze of Swaziland received more than $100,000 in tuition for his son at the University of Utah. The late Rene Essomba of Cameroon received $60,000 in cash and $108,000 for tuition and expenses for his daughter at American University in Washington.

The IOC, which used SLOC documents in its own investigation last month, will receive the ethics report today. "We want to pursue all improper conduct on the part of IOC members," said Vice President Richard Pound of Canada, who chairs the IOC's special inquiry panel. "We are determined to do that."

The IOC has said that it will expel any members who violated their oath promising to be above influence. "We only have that one sanction -- expulsion," said Pound. "We'll have to make a distinction between things that are clearly inappropriate and stuff that is ill-advised and tacky."

Though the SLOC panel concluded that top bid committee officials Tom Welch and Dave Johnson secretly funneled lavish inducements to IOC members without the trustees' knowledge between 1991 and 1998, paid nearly quarter of a million dollars to middlemen, and provided for $30,000 in cash and traveler's checks to be brought to Budapest on the eve of the vote, it found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Though the SLOC panel reviewed 50,000 pages of documents over seven weeks, its report was admittedly incomplete, since it had no subpoena power and several key officials (notably former chief administrative officer Craig Peterson and Stephanie Pate, Welch's secretary) refused to cooperate.

Still, the ethics panel was able to chronicle the seven-year campaign in extensive detail, with hundreds of pages of financial documents, memorandums, faxes, and personal letters between Welch and IOC members and their families.

After Salt Lake lost the 1998 Games to Nagano, Japan, by four votes, the bid committee embarked on a well-funded plan to secure as many votes as it needed for 2002. "What was not part of the plan was Mr. Welch and Mr. Johnson's direct payments to IOC members," said board chairman Robert Garff, who called them "disgusting and disguised transactions."

While the panel concluded that Welch and Johnson misled board members about the payoffs, particularly the use of National Olympic Committee Assistance funds, it criticized the board for slack oversight and focusing more on fund raising than monitoring spending.

"There were many places the system fell down," said Jordan. "There is plenty of blame to go around."

In yet another setback for Olympic leaders, a major sponsor, John Hancock Insurance, said yesterday that it was canceling negotiations with NBC for $20 million in ads. The company said it was protesting the IOC's failure to deal with the growing scandal.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.