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Tuesday, February 9, 1999 Published at 20:32 GMT

World: Americas

Olympic probe condemns two

Corruption has overshadowed Salt Lake City's winning bid

The two top officials of Salt Lake City's bid to hold the 2002 winter Olympics have been singled out by an inquiry into the biggest corruption scandal in Olympic history.

Neil Bennett in Salt Lake City: "Thousands were spent on shopping sprees"
The inquiry report, which runs to several hundred pages, says large sums of money were paid to members of the Internatinal Olympic Committee to secure the bid.

It says that the bid committee's director, Tom Welch, and his deputy, Dave Johnson

  • made unauthorised payments to IOC members and their relatives and
  • made a concerted effort to conceal their actions from the bid committee's board

'Corruption must end here'

Harry Peart: There are more reports to come.
"We have established a new standard of forthrightness in the Olympic world, and that is no small achievement," said Mike Leavitt, the Governor of Utah.

"Olympic corruption did not start here - but it must end here."

[ image: Dave Johnson resigned because of the bribery scandal]
Dave Johnson resigned because of the bribery scandal
Inquiries into the Salt Lake City bid began after it was revealed that IOC members, who are responsible for choosing Olympic host cities, had received money and other incentives from officials in Salt Lake City.

'Lack of control'

The current chairman of the Salt Lake's organising committee, Robert Garff, highlighted the lack of control and said officials had paid little attention to specific expenditure as long as the budget balanced.

The ethics panel concentrated on finding out how many of the city's political and Olympic leaders knew of the special fund set up to induce IOC members to vote for their city as host for the winter Olympics.

The report says that while there was no physical evidence that the bid committee authorised any improper payments, it couldn't be certain that some officials did not close their eyes to problems.

Forced to resign

Two executives on the organising committee have been forced to resign, and the leader of the bidding committee was dropped from a lucrative consulting post because of the scandal.

Another set of findings by the United States Olympic Committee is due to be published next month.

An earlier investigation, by the International Olympic Committee, revealed that the Salt lake City bidding commitee had paid an estimated $800,000 dollars to its members in cash payments, scholarships, free medical care and travel expenses.

The IOC investigation forced the resignation of four IOC members, while another five face expulsion.

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