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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
What the Papers say - Buying the Games


Panorama has gone undercover to investigate how the International Olympic Committee chooses which city will host the 2012 games.

The Guardian - November 27
"Officials for London's 2012 games bid are hoping that the International Olympic Committee's decision to recommend the expulsion of a Bulgarian member alleged in a BBC programme to be involved in corruption will not undermine its bid. The IOC's executive board recommended yesterday that Ivan Slavkov be kicked out of the elite club for breaking ethics rules and "seriously tarnishing" the IOC's image.

Slavkov has been suspended from the IOC since August after Panorama filmed him allegedly discussing how votes could be bought to help influence the 2012 decision. The final decision over whether to expel him rests with the full IOC general assembly, which is due to dis cuss the issue next July in Singapore, where it is also scheduled to vote on the destination of the games.

There was confusion among many IOC members after the initial screening of the programme on the eve of the Athens Olympics as to why the BBC - who hold the television rights for the games in Britain - was seemingly trying to undermine the IOC when London was trying to persuade its members to vote for the games to come there."

Evening Standard - November 26
"The IOC executive board are expected to announce today that they plan to ask the same Singapore meeting that decides the 2012 venue to expel Ivan Slavkov, the Bulgarian member at the centre of a BBC Panorama corruption sting.

Slavkov, a senior figure in football as well as in the Olympic movement, was suspended from the IOC after the Panorama programme made allegations of "cash-for-votes" deals in the bidding for the 2012 Games. The affair caused huge damage to London's bid because it brought back memories of the 1999 scandal that led to 10 IOC members being forced to quit for taking gifts during a previous bidding process.

The programme's methods also upset many IOC members because they involved the use of hidden cameras and undercover reporters posing as London businessmen."

Daily Telegraph - November 26
"London 2012 will have an ear out for news from Lausanne today when the executive board of the International Olympic Committee are likely to endorse the recommendation from the Ethics Commission that Ivan Slavkov, the Bulgarian IOC member, be expelled.

He has been suspended since the BBC screened a Panorama programme just before the Athens Olympics which showed him being secretly filmed and telling undercover reporters that he would be prepared to garner votes in return for favours. Panorama had set up a bogus company which offered to pay IOC members if they voted for the London bid.

Although there was no connection between this bogus company and London 2012 - which the programme made clear - many IOC members at the Athens Games were concerned, and London 2012 had to work hard to ensure the programme did not adversely affect their bid."

The Independent comment - August 11
"Craig Reedie, the chairman of the British Olympic Association, protests too much. His intemperate comments on the BBC's investigation into corruption in the International Olympic Committee are profoundly misplaced. By suggesting that last week's Panorama was wrong to use hidden cameras to film a Bulgarian IOC member seeming to discuss the acceptance of bribes, Mr Reedie is effectively saying the BBC should not have investigated the IOC at all. Mr Reedie and the IOC ought to thank the BBC for exposing the bad apple in their midst. As it is, his reaction has merely emphasised what is wrong with the ruling bodies of the Olympic movement."

The Times - August 11
"The British Olympic Association (BOA) has acted to distance London's bid to stage the 2012 Games from a controversial Panorama documentary screened last week. Craig Reedie, the BOA chairman, has written to the BBC complaining about the programme's attempt to exposure corruption in the voting intentions of International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, leading to the provisional suspension of Ivan Slavkov, of Bulgaria, an IOC member.

His letter to the BBC, said: "Few in the IOC can understand that a highly respected and valued broadcast partner which has just made a public contribution to the European Broadcasting Union rights package for 2010-12 could within a few weeks broadcast a programme which sets out to expose the previous faults in the conduct of the rights holder. The programme contains 80 per cent of previously broadcast material and was editorially selective in the extreme."

London's attempt to host the Games has been damaged, at least temporarily, by reports of the programme, although most IOC members have still to see it. Dr Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said yesterday it would be made available to all members.

Speaking of the undercover "sting" operation, using hidden cameras, in which the BBC also exposed agents claiming to be able to buy IOC members, Reedie wrote to Mark Thompson, the BBC Director-General, saying: "I believe they (the cameras) are legal although questionable in the United Kingdom but not legal and considered offensive in many countries. You may not be surprised to hear the reaction in the IOC is one of considerable irritation."

Thomas Bach, of Germany, an IOC vice-president, said: "One thing you can say is that it has not got easier for them (the London 2012 bid). That is clear. You will have to wait and see in the next weeks and months how much impact it will have."

IOC members now have the chance to make up their own minds, although it is significant that the request to make the film available to the IOC was made by Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr, of Spain, the son of the former president. Madrid is one of four rivals to host the 2012 Games.

Mike Lee, the spokesman for London 2012, said: "There is clearly some confusion and misinformation in Athens about the actual contents of the Panorama programme, which need to be clarified. We therefore welcome the decision by the IOC to show this programme to IOC members.

"Showing the programme will confirm that London 2012 had no knowledge of, or any involvement in, the activities undertaken in the BBC's undercover operation."

Daily Mail - August 10
"Ivan Slavkov, Bulgaria's IOC delegate, who was suspended from the committee after he was shown on the BBC's Panorama programme last week discussing ways to secure votes for choosing the site of the 2012 Games, plans to sue the journalists involved, his spokesman said yesterday."

Guardian - August 10
The Fifa president Sepp Blatter has come out in support of Ivan Slavkov, the Bulgarian accused of corruption after a sting by the BBC programme Panorama. He has said that Slavkov, who last week was suspended as a member of the International Olympic Committee and prevented from travelling here, should remain as president of the Bulgarian Football Union. Earlier in the day Slavkov had stepped down as the head of Bulgaria's Olympic committee and offered to do the same from his post at the Bulgarian FA."

Kate Hoey, Daily Telegraph - August 9
"BBC's Panorama on Wednesday was equally depressing. The programme flagged up how unlikely it will be that the bidding for the 2012 Olympics can be fair and above board. Despite the changes made to the rules for the bidding cities by the International Olympic Committee following the Salt Lake City scandal, it seemed that not much had changed.

But on Saturday something did change for the better. Up until then the Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov, who featured in the Panorama expose, had shown no signs of being concerned over the allegations made about him. Indeed he had confirmed that he would be attending the Olympics 'doing his duty'. Then the IOC's ethics committee met in Athens and Jacques Rogge, the president of the IOC, announced that Slavkov had been suspended and would not be allowed to attend the Games. Rogge is genuinely committed to see a reformed and corruption-free Olympic movement even if the nature of the organisation makes it difficult. Most of the 124 members have been around for a long time and don't want change.

IOC members are appointed directly by the IOC and are not accountable to anyone. Only the athlete members, like Matthew Pinsent, are elected and accountable. The rest sit as individuals and not as delegates representing their country. Indeed, relationships between members of the IOC and their governments vary greatly from one country to another.

Most of the national Olympic committees are state funded. The US and British Olympic Associations are the only two who are not. In the words of one member of the BOA, this means that "we can remain completely independent of the politicians". Other national Olympic committees act as an arm of government and are controlled by the sports minister. Only the IOC can accredit dignitaries at the Games and once accredited that person must be allowed into the country."

Observer - August 8
"A key Olympic official who discussed taking a bribe to help London stage the Games in 2012 was suspended yesterday in an attempt to defuse a new corruption scandal.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended Bulgarian member Ivan Slavkov after the BBC's Panorama programme last week showed him telling undercover reporters that he might vote for London in return for money.

The IOC acted to try to stop the Olympic movement's latest 'votes-for-cash' scandal overshadowing the 2004 Olympics, which open in Athens on Friday. Slavkov, whose pass to attend the Games has been removed, is now likely to be expelled from the IOC itself. Its president, Jacques Rogge, said he was 'angry because the behaviour of some is tarnishing what is a wonderful movement'."

Sunday Times - August 8
"Ivan Slavkov, the head of the Bulgarian Olympic Association and a member of the IOC, had his Athens accreditation removed after allegations of corruption made during last week's BBC Panorama programme.

Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said yesterday: "You see before you an angry man. I can assure you, under my leadership, the IOC will be 100% respectful of the rules." A BBC team posed as an East London company with an interest in securing the Games for the capital.

Slavkov, 64, and Goran Takach, a Serbian sports agent, were seen in the one-hour investigation by Panorama discussing ways to gain London votes as the city aims to win the Olympics for the first time since 1948.

London 2012 officials have officially distanced themselves from the BBC programme and they have been working with the IOC over the ethics that must be followed during such a voting process. The IOC said the executive board had decided to "provisionally deprive" Slavkov "of all the rights, prerogatives and functions deriving from his membership of the IOC throughout the inquiry".

He could now be thrown out of the IOC. Along with Takach, three other agents who were featured in the programme, Gabor Komyathy, Mahmood El Farnawani and director-general of the Olympic Council of Asia, Muttaleb Ahmad, were also condemned by the IOC."

Los AngelesTimes - August 8
"In the wake of a British television show alleging impropriety in the Olympic host-city bid process, the International Olympic Committee on Saturday suspended the privileges of a Bulgarian IOC member and declared four Olympic lobbyists "persona non grata."

The IOC's policymaking executive board, in a decision taken three days after the airing of the BBC news magazine program "Panorama," moved to "provisionally deprive" Bulgarian member Ivan Slavkov of his IOC privileges pending an inquiry by the IOC ethics commission. Slavkov has denied any wrongdoing.

As part of the program, an undercover BBC crew secretly filmed Slavkov and one of the four lobbyists, Goran Takac of Belgrade. The thrust of the show was whether - and how - votes could be bought in the campaign, ongoing now, for the 2012 Summer Games. Lobbyists suggested they could buy IOC votes. The show did not, however, show cash changing hands or the promise of a vote for a particular city.

It did, however, raise questions about an appearance of impropriety in the bid-city process, the same process that rocked the IOC in late 1998 with the Salt Lake City corruption scandal. IOC President Jacques Rogge on Saturday said the IOC had as an institution established meaningful reforms after the Salt Lake scandal and that he personally had "zero tolerance" for "corruption."

Rogge added, "To say I'm disappointed - I'm more than disappointed. I'm an angry man."

Sunday Mirror - August 8
"The International Olympic Committee yesterday provisionally suspended Bulgarian member Ivan Slavkov and rescinded his accreditation to the Athens Olympics following allegations of bribery made in a BBC Panorama documentary.

IOC president Jacques Rogge took the unusual step of fronting a lunchtime press conference midway through the first day of the Executive Board meeting to reveal he was 'an angry man'.

As well as Slavkov's provisional suspension the four agents exposed in the documentary - Serbian-based Goran Takac, Gabor Komyathy of Hungary, the Egyptian Mahmood El Farnawani and Abdul Muttaleb Ahmad from Kuwait - have all been declared 'persona non grata' by the IOC.

Rogge said: "Unfortunately this morning we had to discuss the dark and sombre sides of sport: doping, alleged corruption, possible exclusion of a member.

"This is never pleasant but shows the resolve of the IOC to have zero tolerance of these aspects.

"This is provisional measure because there is always presumption of innocence and a sanction can only be decided upon at end of the enquiry."

Independent - August 7
"Six expulsions, four resignations and 50 reforms were supposed to put a brake on the gravy train, but on BBC1 on Wednesday Panorama went undercover - i.e. put a camera in what appeared to be someone's tiepin - to establish that it's still full speed ahead but with a little less noise. "You need to be extremely, extremely sophisticated if you want to talk to IOC members," advised one agent, a Hungarian called Gabor Komyathy. He said he'd played a key role in the 2008 bid, and already had an offer of work from one of the 2012 bidding nations.

The Panorama team set up a bogus company, New London Ventures, with a supposed interest in bringing the 2012 Games to Stratford-upon-fantasyland, and contacted some of the men who make things happen. Sadly, it was Keystone Cameramen to begin with, and we were soon on intimate terms with the first interviewee's ceiling (in what must have been an office dare, they kept in the muttered argument between themselves afterwards).

There was a terrible piece of cack-handedness later, too, when they sat down with Jean-Claude Ganga, the IOC member expelled for taking a $ 250,000 bung and nicknamed "The Human Hoover" for his legendary gift- gathering. Instead of getting him onside and coaxing the stories from him, the reporter came over all John Humphries and began berating the man, who protested that his behaviour was perfectly normal for the IOC. Exit Ganga, pursued by huge walking spliff. I may possibly have imagined that last bit.

But by and large, once they'd snared their prey, the fixers, all they had to do was play along. The biggest shark in the pond, it seemed, is Goran Takac, a Serbian who could deliver 15-20 votes for around EUR2.5m (pounds 1.65m) the lot, plus EUR3,000-a-day expenses for him (shark food is so expensive these days).

"It's all about money. Full stop," he said.

"Money in terms of -?" the reporter asked.

"Money in terms of cash."

"Money to... create friendships?"

"Money to create votes."

He took them through a list of IOC members, grading them in the corruptibility stakes.

"You have EUR500,000? Because he needs money. He is 100 per cent under control, no problem. He is a guy with whom you can make big agreements." Thirty of the names he read out could be bought, he reckoned.

Takac led them to Sofia and a meeting with Ivan Slavkov, president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, a professor in Kiev, former head of Bulgarian TV, and son-in-law of the country's last Communist leader, Todor Zhivkov - a card-carrying big wheel, and a man who really should have been somewhere else entirely. Instead, he turned up for the meeting in an IOC jeep.

Once they'd established that Slavkov would be looked after once his vote was assured - "Mr Slavkov was included in the figures I gave you," Takac told the team - he made his excuses. "Boys, I have to leave because I am going to a funeral." His own, presumably.

Meanwhile, the IOC has launched an investigation. Rumours that it will be conducted by the FA Board remain unconfirmed."

New York Times - August 5
"Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, arrived in Athens yesterday and promised that the I.O.C. would take any necessary action over allegations made in a BBC television program about corruption in bidding for the 2012 Games.

The program, ''Panorama,'' was to be broadcast last night. Rogge said he did not know the details of the accusations, but that ''the Ethics Commission will look into that and the I.O.C. will take the necessary action.''

London, Paris, New York, Madrid and Moscow are on the short list for the 2012 Games. The host city will be named next July after a vote by I.O.C. members."

The Herald - August 5
"The cesspit of corruption has once again washed over the International Olympic Committee if we are to believe every line of last night's BBC documentary. As usual with the Olympic Games, not everything should be taken at face value.

Panorama certainly made a sound case, interviewing several agents who professed to be able to deliver 20 votes from the 124 International Olympic Committee members who will determine which city hosts the 2012 Olympics.

To do so, the BBC team posed as a group of East London businessmen who would benefit from London being successful. The city is on a shortleet against Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow, with the IOC vote due next July.

The prize is worth billions in contracts across construction, transport, and dozens of other enterprises and industries. Yet the BBC claim that for a mere 3m in backhanders, the result can be decisively influenced. Goran Tacac, whose father, Artur, was an adviser to IOC president Juan Samaranch, wanted (euros)900,000 for his services. For a further (euros)3m, up to 20 votes could be secured for London.

The money would be cautiously channelled through conduits of third parties, so that the identity of the rogue members of the world's most exclusive and influential club remained concealed. Corrupt IOC members were supposed to have been weeded out after the Salt Lake City scandal. The Winter Games of 2002 paid some $ 15m to ensure host status. Ten members were expelled or resigned. Some apparently sold their votes for Viagra, among other inducecements.

An ethics commission was established, and strict controls were imposed. Now, even insignificant gifts are banned. A small evaluation group as set up, ending the (numerous) visits to candidate cities by delegates (and their wives), to the considerable irritation of members.

Kim Un Yong, the Korean IOC vice president, made restoration of such members' privileges a plank of his failed campaign for the presidency. He has since been jailed for corruption. Despite his conviction, though suspended, Kim has not been dismissed by the IOC.

The programme met with another agent, Gabor Komyathy, in Budapest. He claimed to have been central to securing Sydney's success over Beijieing won by just two votes and to be able to deliver 20 votes to London. He warned that the full deal could have been done for (euros)4m in the past, but greater care was required given the rule changes.

Another go-between interviewed was a Kuwaiti, Muttaleb Ahmad. He is the director general of the Olympic Council of Asia, governing body of all amateur sport on that continent. OCA organises the Asian Games. It is funded in part by the IOC.

Ahmad says that though 10 corrupt members were expunged, many of those who accepted benefits from Salt Lake are still in the IOC, some in senior positions. He refused to accept any money himself, but said he would identify suitable members for London to approach. Despite stricter rules he could still name a member who would sell a vote for a straight cash sum.

The BBC made a convincing case. Corruption is still clearly rife, and the IOC is now investigating. But having pulled their own sting, the BBC themselves were rumbled by the biggest fish they tried to trap.

Tacac agreed to meet the East London businessmen and introduce them to Professor Ivan Slavkov, chairman of the Bulgarian National Olympic Committee and his country's Football Association, to discuss a deal. They invited the businessmen to meet them on the 19th floor of a Sofia restaurant.

It's name? Panorama. They say they were simply trying to expose people attempting to corrupt the IOC. If the Olympics is to remain the greatest show on earth, it needs to be seen to clean up its act, and not just whitewash. Ethics are the foundations of its existence.

Now they are crumbling."

RIA Novosti, Russia - August 5
"The International Olympic Committee Vice-President scolded the BBC Panorama programme for picking the wrong time for the bidding scandal - right before the opening of the Olympic Games in Athens.

"We are looking forward to one of the great holidays in the world - the Olympic Games in Athens. No one would like to see the games spirit darkened," said Vitaly Smirnov. According to the IOC Vice-President the BBC muck-raking would cost London 2012 bid vital votes."

Sydney Morning Herald - August 5
"Two key figures behind Sydney's successful bid to host the 2000 Olympics have denied any improper payments were made to an Egyptian businessman to swing two votes and win the games.

Former chairman of the Sydney Olympic bid, John Fahey, and former NSW Olympic minister Bruce Baird said Mahmoud El Farnawani worked for the bid team that beat Beijing for the 2000 Games at a vote of International Olympic Committee (IOC) members in Monte Carlo in 1993.

But they told ABC radio the businessman was not paid anything extra to deliver the winning votes as Mr El Farnawani claimed on the BBC TV's Panorama program. Mr Baird, a federal government MP, said the agent had been caught out lying to boost his credentials.

"As minister for the Olympic bid I would be aware of any expenditure that was made to people," Mr Baird said. "He had a fairly modest payment that was made to him on a yearly basis for his services that included looking after the IOC members from the North African area."

He said Mr El Farnawani had "made some fairly over the top claims about his role in terms of securing the Olympic bid and I think he's been caught out. Certainly at the end of the day we were all pretty disappointed in his performance," Mr Baird said."

The Statesman, India - August 5
"Bidding for the 2012 Olympic Games is riddled with corruption, with so-called 'agents' promising to deliver dozens of International Olympic Committee votes in return for bribes, an investigation said today. An undercover BBC television team talked to a series of agents with close ties to the Olympic movement who promised between them to deliver the votes of 54 IOC members, according to a documentary to be broadcast later this week."

Globe and Mail, Canada - August 5
"The latest Olympic vote-selling saga has a Canadian connection. Egyptian-born Mahmoud el-Farnawani, a lobbying agent based in Cairo and Oakville, Ont., claims in a BBC documentary that for $60,000 (U.S.) he delivered the decisive votes from Muslim members of the International Olympic Committee, sending the 2000 Olympic Games to Sydney rather than Beijing.

The agent later worked for Toronto's bid for the 2008 Games, which lost out to Beijing, and was paid about $80,000 (Canadian) for a four-page report. Toronto's employment of el-Farnawani was cut short when his name surfaced in the vote-selling scandal of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics."

Torronto Star, Canada - August 5
"For the third time, Oakville entrepreneur and souvenir manufacturer Mahmood El Farnawani has been linked to a controversy in which cash or services were offered in exchange for IOC votes in bidding for Olympic Games.

Last night, BBC TV reported that El Farnawani was one of four middlemen who claimed they could secure IOC members' votes in London's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

He was also implicated indirectly in scandals to win the 2000 Summer Games for Sydney and the 2002 Winter Games for Salt Lake City.

The 71-year-old El Farnawani also worked for the unsuccessful Toronto Olympic bids for 1996 and 2008....El Farnawani could not be reached for comment yesterday, but in the past he has denied being involved in anything illicit. A woman who described herself as a friend of El Farnawani said he no longer lives in Oakville, but has returned to his native Egypt."

Straits Times, Singapore - August 5
"Want to host the Olympics? Well, be prepared to bribe, grovel and pay. Just eight days before the start of the Athens Games, the BBC claims that corruption in the Olympic host city bidding process is still rampant. It even implicated a director-general of the Olympic Council of Asia - Muttaleb Ahmed - and shed light on previous rumours that Sydney had won the 2000 Games only after 'buying' votes."

Sofia News Agency - August 5
"Andrew Jennings, consultant in the BBC Panorama programme investigation, expressed disbelief that the journalists will be sued over the IOC cash-for-votes scandal that they triggered. Pigs would fly before this happens, Jennings told the Bulgarian Section of the BBC."

Melbourne Herald Sun - August 5
"Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates last night denied Egyptian businessman Mahmoud El Farnawani was paid $85,200 to deliver two votes critical to Sydney winning the 2000 Games.

"That's absolutely not the case," he said last night.

Mr El Farnawani is believed to allege on BBC program Panorama that the AOC paid him to secure votes from African members of the International Olympic Committee. Kenyan Charles Mukora and Ugandan Francis Nyangweso are identified as the two IOC delegates who allegedly voted for Sydney, giving it a two-vote margin over Beijing at the IOC meeting in Monte Carlo in 1993.

Mr Coates confirmed Mr El Farnawani worked for the Sydney bid and also that the AOC funded sporting programs in Uganda and Kenya. But he rejected suggestions the businessmen was paid an extra $85,200."

Sofia News Agency - August 5
"Germany's member of the International Olympic Committee called for the resignation of Bulgaria's member Ivan Slavkov in the wake of the cash-for-votes scandal.

According to Manfred von Richthofen, Ivan Slavkov will be discredited during the investigations of the BBC documentary scandal, which accuses him of inappropriate conduct in the 2012 Olympic bidding process and vote-purchasing.

A man who has once been suspected of contrary to the IOC's goals behaviour and now discredits IOC again has nothing to do in that leadership any more, Manfred von Richthofen said, referring to the 1998 Salt Lake scandal from which Slavkov was cleared.

The bidding scandal made front-page headlines in Germany."

Daily Telegraph - August 5
"Whether Panorama's investigation into the alleged sale of International Olympic Committee votes, screened last night, leads to another corruption scandal remains to be seen. But the man at the centre of the controversy has a rather mysterious problem closer to home to deal with.

Goran Takac, an agent from Belgrade who allegedly arranged a meeting for Panorama investigators with a Bulgarian IOC member, had his father, Artur - a well-known figure in the Olympic movement - go missing in January while skiing in Serbia.

Milorad Ivanovic, the deputy editor in chief of Blic, a newspaper in Takac's home town of Belgrade, said: "This was a very strange case. It was believed that he died while skiing and snow covered him, but there was no snow on the mountain for several months and there is no evidence of his whereabouts. Goran told me he does not believe his involvement in the BBC programme could be the reason for his father's disappearance."

The Australian - August 5
"An Egyptian businessman has boasted he was paid $85,200 to secure the two critical votes that won Sydney the Olympic Games.

Mahmoud El Farnawani was working as a consultant for the Sydney bid when he delivered letters to the Ugandan and Kenyan International Olympic Committee members promising $35,000 each in sporting grants if Sydney triumphed. "I am the one who made it for them. OK?"

Mr El Farnawani told undercover reporters of the BBC's Panorama program, broadcast overnight in London.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates in 1999 revealed he sealed the deal with Charles Mukura of Kenya and Francis Nyangweso of Uganda the night before Sydney got the vital two of the 88 votes needed to beat Beijing at the IOC meeting in Monte Carlo in 1993.

But Mr Coates denied last night Mr El Farnawani had received improper payments to secure the votes."

Xinhuanet - August 4
"Bulgarian Olympic Committee president Ivan Slavkov denied any wrongdoing Tuesday after being featured in a television documentary which alleges corruption in the bidding process for the 2012 Olympic Games.

"I didn't promise anybody to support the London bid," Slavkov, who is also a member of the International OIympic Committee (IOC),told a news conference here.

In the program to be shown in Britain on Wednesday, an undercover BBC television team talked to a series of agents with close ties to the Olympic movement who promised between them to deliver the votes of 54 IOC members. Slavkov, while not himself touting for a bribe, appeared in secretly-filmed footage to admit that votes could be purchased."

Reuters - August 4
"International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge today promised the IOC wull take any necessary action over allegations made in the BBC TV Panorama program about bidding for the 2012 Games.

Rogge told reporters before the program was screened in Britain: "We don't know the details as this tape is going to be shown tonight. But, of course, the Ethics Commission will look into that and the IOC will take the necessary action."

Torronto Star - August 4
Ivan Slavkov, a member of the International Olympic Committee, denied he was implicated in corruption involving the 2012 host city bidding process. Slavkov said yesterday that "the case should be brought before a civil court or the International Court of Arbitration for Sport." Slavkov declined further comment, saying his lawyers have advised him not to talk before a meeting of the IOC's ethics commission."

TV Canal 24 Madrid - August 4
Feliciano Mayoral, president of Madrid's 2012 Olympic bid, has pledged to "carry on working honestly", in statements to Spanish 24 Horas television. A BBC Panorama report to be screened on 4 August shows an International Olympic Committee member discussing a trade in votes to London's benefit. "The ethics committee of the International Olympic Committee and the executive committee of the International Olympic Committee are the bodies in charge of judging whether there has really been corruption and taking the consequent measures," Mayoral said. "What we must do is carry on working honestly, as we have been doing since we began the candidature process," he added.

New York Times - August 4
"Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, arrived in Athens yesterday and promised that the I.O.C. would take any necessary action over allegations made in a BBC television program about corruption in bidding for the 2012 Games. The program, ''Panorama,'' was to be broadcast last night. Rogge said he did not know the details of the accusations, but that ''the Ethics Commission will look into that and the I.O.C. will take the necessary action.''

Financial Times - August 4
"The BBC is set to pass the results of an investigation into corruption in the Olympic movement to the International Olympic Committee after secretly filming a committee member discussing the voting process.

Reporters from the BBC's Panorama programme spent a year pretending to represent east London business interests prepared to pay IOC members in exchange for them voting for London's bid to host the 2012 Games.

The programme, which will be broadcast tonight, filmed agents who work in the Olympic movement boasting of how many votes they could secure. One intermediary, Goran Takac, said he could deliver 15-20 votes, with seven-10 requiring "some kind of payment".

Mr Takac also introduced the programme makers to Ivan Slavkov, the IOC's representative from Bulgaria. The meeting breached IOC rules that bar members from being "involved with firms or persons whose activity is inconsistent with the principles set out in the Olympic charter".

The BBC said it was prepared to share its information with the IOC, which has launched an investigation."

London Evening Standard - August 4
"The most lucrative Olympic competition doesn't take place on the track or in the pool - it happens in meeting rooms around the world, as the International Olympic Committee decides which city will get the honour of hosting the Games. However, according to this film, the process is open to corruption and abuse. Using secret filming, Panorama reveals "agents" claiming they can buy votes for the 2012 Games - the one for which London is competing."

The Times - August 4
"An unscrupulous city could buy the Olympic Games for 3 million in bribes and backhanders, a television documentary will claim tonight.

Agents or "fixers" -Olympic insiders with close ties to International Olympic Committee members -offered cash-for-votes deals at secret meetings with undercover reporters.

They said it would cost between 1.1 million and 2.7 million to bribe enough IOC members to secure the Games for a bid city. Just nine days before the opening ceremony in Athens, the IOC ethics commission is to investigate the role of agents in the bidding process.

It will also inquire into the behaviour of one of its members, Ivan Slavkov, of Bulgaria, after the sting by a BBC team posing as an East London business consortium.

Four agents have been identified as being able to woo crucial IOC members for the right price when the 124-member IOC is polled in July to select the host city for the 2012 Games. London is one of the five short-listed candidates, as well as Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York.

The claims, which will be aired on Panorama tonight, will be sent to the IOC ethics commission today."

Spanish National Radio - August 4
"Already, before the programme has been screened, everyone has reacted: the IOC has requested the tape from the BBC in order to initiate an investigation, London has recalled that it has nothing to do with it and Madrid has expressed confidence that the purchasing of votes will be punished with the maximum severity."

Seattle Post - August 4
"Four middlemen claim in meetings secretly taped by a BBC TV program that they could secure IOC members' votes in bidding for the 2012 Olympics. The show, which offers no conclusive evidence of bribery, will air in Britain tonight. Reporters were shown an advance screening yesterday.

Only one IOC member, Ivan Slavkov of Bulgaria, is specifically implicated. He is shown discussing how to influence votes, but his comments are ambiguous, and he and one of the middlemen, Goran Takac, denied any wrongdoing at a news conference in Sofia yesterday. Takac said they played along to expose potential corruption. Attempts to reach the other middlemen were unsuccessful.

The IOC asked its ethics commission to investigate "alleged inappropriate conduct within the Olympic movement linked with the bid process." IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the committee would have no further comment until officials have seen the broadcast."

Daily Telegraph - August 4
"London's 2012 Olympic bid have denied claims that they acted unethically in trying to contact an International Olympic Committee member.

In a television programme to be broadcast tonight, Panorama say that Keith Mills, the chief executive officer of London 2012, wrote to Vitaly Smirnov, the IOC vice-president from Russia, requesting a meeting. Panorama quote an agent, Goran Takac, who says that Smirnov rang him to complain about the letter.

London 2012 wrote to Panorama saying: "Keith Mills, London CEO, did write to Mr Smirnov in June to congratulate him on Russian tennis success at the French Open in Paris and to inform him that he might be in Moscow in July as a result of a scheduled business trip and suggested a meeting over coffee. In fact the proposed meeting did not take place and Mr Mills has had no subsequent contact with Mr Smirnov."

In a television programme to be broadcast tonight, Panorama say that Keith Mills, the chief executive officer of London 2012, wrote to Vitaly Smirnov, the IOC vice-president from Russia, requesting a meeting. Panorama quote an agent, Goran Takac, who says that Smirnov rang him to complain about the letter.

London 2012 wrote to Panorama saying: "Keith Mills, London CEO, did write to Mr Smirnov in June to congratulate him on Russian tennis success at the French Open in Paris and to inform him that he might be in Moscow in July as a result of a scheduled business trip and suggested a meeting over coffee. In fact the proposed meeting did not take place and Mr Mills has had no subsequent contact with Mr Smirnov."

The Times - August 4
After a string of embarrassing scandals, the Athens Olympics is being presented as a return to the Olympian ideals of integrity and fair play. Panorama, however, reveals evidence that the votes of some members of the International Olympic Committee - the private club that controls the Games - are still being offered for sale. During a year-long investigation, a team of undercover reporters tried to find out what it takes to get the Games, and it would appear that the answer is simple - hard cash. Hey, maybe bunging could become an Olympic sport.

Sydney Morning Herald - August 4
"An agent with links to the International Olympic Committee claims he was paid $US60,000 ($85,200) for delivering the two critical votes that won Sydney the Olympic Games, according to a British documentary.

In the documentary, to be broadcast on the BBC's Panorama program in Britain tonight, Egyptian businessman Mahmoud El Farnawani is believed to say that he was paid the money to orchestrate the last-minute votes from Kenyan IOC member Charles Mukora and Ugandan Francis Nyangweso.

When the 2000 host city was decided in Monte Carlo in 1993, Sydney beat Beijing by two votes. It was revealed before the 2000 Games that Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates had sealed the two votes by offering $US35,000 each for the sporting programs of Uganda and Kenya. But El Farnawani's involvement and payment has never before come to light.

The programme raises questions about the involvement of agents, who promise to deliver scores of votes to bidding cities for substantial sums of money."

Independent, South Africa - August 4
"Two senior members of the Olympic movement told undercover journalists posing as business agents they could corrupt the 2012 Olympic bidding process, BBC TV alleged on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, one of those implicated denied the claims to be made during a one hour-long Panorama programme. The other could not be contacted immediately.

Bulgarian International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Ivan Slavkov said he and an agent had been launching their own counter-operation to catch people trying to "entrap" Olympic officials.

'Have you already decided where your allegiances lie?' In the most damaging scenes from the programme, already the subject of an IOC investigation, Slavkov is shown discussing ways to secure votes for 2012.

The programme also shows Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) director general Muttaleb Ahmad explain how he can influence IOC votes, stirring memories of the Salt Lake City corruption scandal that rocked the movement six years ago."

Sofia News Agency - August 4
"A part of the BBC documentary that stirred a major international bribe scandal was aired by the Bulgarian National Television early on Wednesday.

Bulgarian Ivan Slavkov has reportedly been secretly filmed by the BBC's Panorama programme discussing how the votes of other International Olympic Committee members could be "bought".

The part of the BBC's Panorama programme aired in Bulgaria showed Slavkov and Goran Takac, a sports agent who specialises in helping cities win the Olympics. The meeting with the BBC reporters took place in Sofia's Radisson SAS Grand Hotel not as previously announced by Slavkov and Takac in Kempinski Zografski Hotel.

The video shows that Slavkov leaves first as he has to "attend a funeral". After Slavkov left the meeting Takac told the undercover reporters that the Bulgarian would talk to his "closest friends".

According to a BBC article published August 3 Takac named more than 30 IOC members who he said he could approach to negotiate backing for London. BBC also cites the sports agent as saying that he could probably get 15 to 20 votes, of which half would require "payment".

Independent - August 4
"More than 30 members of the International Olympic Committee may be subjected to an internal investigation after claims made by the BBC's Panorama programme of continued corruption within the organisation.

According to the programme to be broadcast tonight, almost a quarter of the 124 members are open to bribery to varying degrees in return for their vote for a city bidding to stage the Games in 2012.

The claims are made by the Serbian businessman Goran Takac, one of four "Olympic agents" involved in numerous previous bids and filmed by Panorama. Investigative reporters posed as consultants who are supposedly acting for an east London business consortium trying to buy votes for London's bid to stage the Games.

If the claims prove well founded they will hugely undermine the IOC's anti-corruption drive. The IOC's anti-corruption unit began investigating Panorama's claims last week and said yesterday it was waiting to see the programme. Panorama was consulting its lawyers last night over which names it could hand to the IOC.

A member of the committee most directly implicated is Ivan Slavkov, the IOC member for Bulgaria and the son-in-law of that country's former communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov. Professor Slavkov agreed to a meeting in Sofia also attended by the agent Takac and the undercover reporters working for "New London Ventures".

He appears to agree to consultants' requests for a "business contract" to influence other IOC members and remains impassive while details of his remuneration are discussed. After Professor Slavkov leaves the room the agent flicks through the list of IOC members, identifying the 34 who could be influenced. Four names, Takac said, were "100 per cent under control" while others have to be approached more directly.

Takac refers back to an earlier conversation - also caught on film - when he offers to deliver up to EUR4m (pounds 2.6m) for as many as 20 IOC votes, a third of the way to the winning post.

When they were contacted later by Panorama, both men said they had agreed to the meeting to expose what they thought was a real attempt to corrupt the bidding process."

Guardian - August 4
"The International Olympic Committee was in serious hot water in 1998 when it emerged how much bribery was involved in the bidding process for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics. Now the IOC again faces allegations of corruption, thanks to this undercover investigation. For a year, Panorama has collected evidence showing that, despite previous scandals, the offer of hard cash hasn't sent certain people associated with the IOC recoiling in ethical horror."

Canberra Times - August 3
"A spokesman for Bulgaria's top sports official yesterday denied he was implicated in a scandal involvingthe 2012 bidding process. Ivan Slavkov, a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1987, "is not guilty and the involvement of his name in this affair is a provocation," his spokesman,Atanas Karaivanov, told reporters. "Someone is smearing the name of Ivan Slavkov in an attempt to affect Sofia's candidacy to host the Winter Olympics in 2014," Karaivanov said. Slavkov, who is not in the country according to his spokesman, could not be reached for comment."

Daily Mail - August 2
"Another senior Olympic official has been caught on camera telling undercover reporters how to bribe IOC members to bring the 2012 Games to London.

Abdul Muttaleb Ahmad, director general of the Olympic Council of Asia, is the latest high-ranking member of the Olympic movement to be implicated in a scandal created by a television sting operation.

Sportsmail revealed last week how Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov discussed how his vote for the Games could be bought by the London bid while Vitaly Smirnov, an IOC vice-president, is the subject of similar allegations from investigators of the BBC ' s Panorama programme. Slavkov yesterday denied the allegations.

Now we can disclose how Ahmad invited BBC reporters, posing as businessmen prepared to pay bribes, to his office in Kuwait. It is understood he told them that if they were 'extremely help them bypass the IOC's code of ethics."

Irish Times - August 2
"Bulgarian Ivan Slavkov, the IOC member named by the London Evening Standard as being accused of "inappropriate conduct" in the 2012 Olympic bidding process, failed to turn up at a news conference yesterday. Slavkov was named on Friday as being involved in a sting by a BBC documentary, which alleges votes were for sale and has prompted an IOC investigation. BBC news reported the Panorama programme, to be broadcast on Wednesday, shows at least one IOC member flouting selection process rules for the 2012 Games."

Sofia News Agency - August 2
"The International Olympic Committee has been aware of the cash-for-votes scandal set-up, according to one of IOC most prominent lobbyists.

The jobbery was staged with the knowledge of IOC Vice President Vitaly Smirnov and aimed to disclose those who give the money, not those who take it, Serbian Goran Takac, President of the company, which advertises Sofia's bid, said in an interview for Bulgarian 24 Hours Daily.

According to British media, the scandalous jobbery was linked to the future election of 2012 Olympic host. BBC reporters posed as business consultants keen to help bring the 2012 games Olympics to London's East End. They then approached freelance sports agents who claimed to exert influence over certain IOC voters - for a fee.

Ivan Slavkov, president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee and a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1987, was reportedly involved in the shady deal.

As one of Slavkov's closes friends, I talked him into joining the plot, claims Goran Takac, son of IOC former member Artur Takac.

Independent - August 2
"A spokesman for a leading Bulgarian sports official has denied he was implicated in a scandal involving the 2012 host city bidding process. Ivan Slavkov, a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1987, "is not guilty and the involvement of his name in this affair is a provocation," his spokesman, Atanas Karaivanov, said. "Someone is smearing the name of Ivan Slavkov in an attempt to affect Sofia's candidacy to host the Winter Olympics in 2014," Karaivanov said. On Thursday, the IOC asked its ethics commission to investigate "alleged inappropriate conduct within the Olympic movement linked with the bid process." The allegations are to be aired on the BBC news programme Panorama on Wednesday."

Independent on Sunday - August 1
"The organisers of London's bid for the 2012 Olympics have accused the BBC of attempting to sabotage the capital's chances by broadcasting a Panorama investigation this week.

A senior source branded the documentary - which will claim to expose a new bribes-for-votes scandal in the 2012 bidding process - "as a piece of mischief" and said it could harm London's bid."

Evening Standard - July 30
"London Olympic bid leaders were battling today to avoid becoming embroiled in a potential "cash-for-votes" scandal in the race for the 2012 Games. The International Olympic Committee yesterday launched an inquiry into allegations of "inappropriate conduct" in the 2012 race made by the BBC in a Panorama programme to be broadcast next week.

Olympic sources told Standard Sport that the allegations - if substantiated - were likely to be discussed at a meeting of the IOC's ruling executive board to be held just before the start of the Athens Olympics two weeks today. The Government and officials from the IOC and the London bid will be watching Wednesday's programme closely to see if there is any substance in suggestions that the BBC has found evidence of potential bribery.

It is understood that the programme includes a film of undercover reporters, representing a bogus East London business consortium, securing the vote of at least one IOC member with a bribe. A "cash-for-votes" scandal involving Salt Lake City brought the IOC to its knees in 1999 and former President Juan Antonio Samaranch went close to resigning. Olympic leaders said the IOC were determined to take action if the programme provided evidence of wrongdoing."

Edinburgh Evening News - July 30
"When hosting the Olympics has huge economic benefits for a host city, the IOC must be seen to be acting with complete propriety when deciding who will host the Games, and any suggestion that IOC members are open to bribery not only tarnishes the reputation of the committee, but damages the high ideals and the spirit of the Games. Fans around the world who have been eagerly awaiting this year's Games and the athletes who have trained so hard to compete deserve much better than this."

Guardian - July 30
"The International Olympic Committee last night launched an investigation into allegations that a European IOC member was willing to accept a bribe to assist London's chances of winning the 2012 Olympics from undercover reporters posing as London-based businessmen.

The IOC president Jacques Rogge referred the allegations, made in a Panorama programme to be broadcast next Wednesday, to the IOC's ethics commission after they were brought to his attention by officials at London 2012.

"We take such matters very seriously and we can assure everyone that we are not treating the matter lightly," said Giselle Davies, a spokeswoman for the IOC. "If the ethics commission decide that there is a case to answer then you can rest assured that it will be dealt with.""

Independent - July 30
"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has launched an investigation into claims that its members are prepared to sell their votes to cities bidding to stage the 2012 Games, including London. The inquiry was launched after allegations by BBC's Panorama programme that the bidding process was corrupt despite IOC efforts to clean it up in the wake of recent scandals.

During a year-long investigation, undercover reporters posed as consultants acting for businessmen in east London with a financial interest in bringing the Games to the capital and filmed conversations with agents claiming to have contacts with the IOC.

These agents said that they could secure votes in return for cash and even boasted that they had been approached by each of the five cities bidding to stage the 2012 Games. It is believed that the Panorama programme has also recorded a conversation with one IOC member from Europe who offers to sell his vote to support the London bid."

The Times - July 30
"Olympic chiefs yesterday ordered an inquiry into allegations of "inappropriate conduct" and apparent corruption in the bidding process to stage the 2012 Games for which London is a leading contender.

The allegations come two weeks before the summer Games open in Athens. They concern claims that the voting for candidate cities can potentially still be rigged by bribing a member of the 124-strong International Olympic Committee (IOC).

It is understood that a Panorama programme, to be screened next Wednesday, includes a film of undercover reporters, representing a bogus East London business consortium, allegedly securing the vote of at least one IOC member with a bribe.

The BBC yesterday put a news blackout on the story, threatening employees with the sack should they leak information.

Neither the Government nor the London bid team have been told any details of the contents of the programme, senior officials said last night. However, officials quickly distanced themselves from the claims and Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, voiced confidence in the integrity of the London team, which is led by Lord Coe.

"We would like to see the programme and then we would know where we stand," one said."



SEE ALSO:
What the Papers say 2003
25 Feb 03 |  Panorama
What The Papers Say: 2001
27 Apr 01 |  Press Reviews
What the Papers say: 2002
27 Mar 02 |  Press Reviews


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