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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Olympic agents 'who sell votes'

Panorama identified four sports agents from across the world who claim to have had dealings with several successful Olympic bids.

Each of them was secretly filmed claiming to be able to "sell" votes for the programme's fake attempt to bring the 2012 Olympics to London.

Reporters posed as consultants acting for clients with business interests in east London who wanted the Games to come to the city.

One of the agents set up a meeting with a senior IOC member, who discussed how votes could be "bought".

Below is a brief biography of these agents and what they told Panorama, which is to be broadcast on Wednesday.

There is no suggestion the real London bid team has acted improperly. The IOC has launched an inquiry.

GABOR KOMYATHY

Gabor Komyathy

History: Gabor Komyathy has a big reputation in Olympic bidding circles.

He was one of the men who helped Sydney get the 2000 summer games.

On top of this he also claimed to have received one other offer to help in the bidding for the 2012 Olympics.

His office is based in downtown Budapest, but he didn't want to meet the Panorama undercover team there as it was "too high visibility".

Instead the team met up with him in their hotel lobby and took him up to a meeting room in the building.

The allegation: The Hungarian claimed that money was the key, and that his close relationship with IOC members could swing votes.

He said you need to be "extremely sophisticated" if you want to talk to IOC members

You need to be extremely, extremely sophisticated if you want to talk to IOC members
Gabor Komyathy

Mr Komyathy also said he would tell the Panorama team exactly what IOC members wanted.

He added that he wouldn't make any payments or execute any deals in person, and that the undercover team would have to do it themselves.

Mr Komyathy later claimed to have known all along that the Panorama team were journalists.

Votes: He claimed that he could ensure around 20 votes for London at a cost of 200,000 euros per vote. That would mean a total of around 4m euros.

GORAN TAKAC

Goran Takac

History: Goran Takac is a true veteran of the Olympic bidding process. He has an office in the centre of Belgrade, Serbia.

He actually runs a design company which claims to have provided design services for 17 cities bidding to host the Olympics.

His father Artur Takac was an advisor to former IOC president Juan Samaranch.

The allegation: Mr Takac was secretly filmed claiming that money was the key to winning an Olympic bid.

That is, money to "create votes". He claimed that It would cost as much as 4m euros with between 2.5 and 3m euros for "oiling the wheels of IOC members".

It's all about money - full stop
Goran Takac

The Serbian also charges a fee of 3,600 euros a day.

Mr Takac also arranged a meeting between the Panorama team and IOC member Ivan Slavkov in Sofia, Bulgaria.

He claims that he knew it was a set-up all along and simply played along with the Panorama team in a bid to expose what he thought was a real attempt to corrupt the bidding process.

Mr Takac said that Ivan Slavkov was also trying to trap "corruptors".

Votes: Goran claimed that he could influence between 15 and 20 votes. He said that between seven and 10 of these votes would involve paying cash to IOC members.

MAHMOOD el FARNAWANI

Mahmood el Farnawani
The minimum (number of votes I can get) is 14

History: Mahmood el Farnawani is an Egyptian agent with a proud track record of helping cities win Olympic bids.

He was one of the people who helped Salt Lake City's successful bid to stage the 2002 Winter Olympics.

It is a feat for which he was rewarded handsomely - to the tune of US$150,000. He was also paid US$60,000 by the Sydney team for help he'd given to them.

The agent lives in Cairo with his family and has been involved with the International Olympic Committee for decades.

The allegation: Although suspicious of the Panorama team and their cover story of New London Ventures, Mr el Farnawani was filmed claiming he was responsible for securing two crucial votes in the battle for the 2000 Olympics.

He said: "I got their 100% assurance. We won."

Mr el Farnawani also said he delivered eight votes for the Salt Lake City bid and showed Panorama's undercover team a folder which he claimed contained the official IOC conclusions on each bidding city. (The meeting was held before the shortlist was announced.)

He said that it would cost the team as much as US$1.5m to secure the 14 votes - although he also added that he would do it by sticking to the new strict rules.

He also wanted to charge New London Ventures US$25,000 per month for 15 months as his fee.

Votes: A minimum of 14 was claimed, but he did say that he would do it by sticking to the rules.

MUTTALEB AHMAD

Muttaleb Ahmad
You have to approach the IOC members, not necessarily with an official appointment

History: The Kuwaiti is one of the most interesting agents Panorama encountered because he works at the very heart of the Olympic movement.

He is the current director general of the Olympic Council of Asia, which is the governing body of all amateur sport on the continent.

This organisation is responsible for running the Asian games and is actually part funded by the IOC.

Mr Ahmad was also involved in the Salt Lake City bid, and was paid US$64,000 by them.

The allegation: Mr Ahmad was filmed claiming that as many as 70% of the people who accepted gifts and benefits during the Salt Lake City bid were still in the IOC.

He offered to use his connections to try to set up meetings with some of the 23 IOC Asian members.

He said you had to approach the members without an appointment as they were not allowed to meet people connected with bids - whether or not they were part of the official bid.

Mr Ahmad said that he didn't pay people himself and that the Panorama's undercover company New London Ventures would have to do it themselves.

Votes: Mr Ahmed made no guarantee of how many votes we could get.

Panorama: Buying the games was broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday, 4 August, 2004 at 21:00 BST.



SEE ALSO:
Buying the Games
29 Jul 04 |  Panorama
IOC member 'selling votes'
03 Aug 04 |  Olympics 2012
The official response
03 Aug 04 |  Panorama
The Olympic rules
03 Aug 04 |  Panorama
Q&A: Olympic bid allegations
30 Jul 04 |  Olympics 2012
The track record on Olympic corruption
30 Jul 04 |  Olympics 2012
Your comments
03 Aug 04 |  Panorama


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