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BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July 2005, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Buying the Games
The Olympic torch
In August 2004, nine days before the opening of the Athens Olympics, Panorama revealed how some Olympic "agents" were offering to pay members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in an attempt to get IOC votes in the race to hold the 2012 games.

The "agents" claimed to be specialists in Olympic bidding and said that -for the right money- they could deliver IOC votes and that the key to getting votes was finding out exactly what certain IOC members wanted

Using the cover of a "consultancy firm" which Panorama called New London Ventures, and making clear that this was in no way connected to the official London 2012 bid, the team secretly filmed the agents and asked them how they could help London win the Games.

The "agents" said that some IOC members needed to be rewarded with money or favours and that for the right fee they could arrange this. One of the agents, Goran Takac, introduced the Panorama team to an IOC member from Bulgaria Ivan Slavkov.

Slavkov was clearly breaking IOC rules by meeting with the undercover Panorama team.

When confronted with the case against him, Slavkov claimed that he had deliberately attended the meeting in order to trap the Panorama team, saying that

"Whatever I could say during the meeting was intended to trap the 'corruptors'."

The Panorama investigation started with evidence of how Salt Lake City won the 2002 Winter Games and the programme examined what sort of inducements had been offered to IOC members to win their votes and showed how agents had been at the heart of the "culture of gift giving" and corruption at Salt Lake.

All the "agents" featured in the programme had previously been paid by cities bidding to win the Games. Their role was to influence the IOC, acting as middlemen men between the cities and IOC members. And according to some of the winning cities agents had played a key part in helping them win the right to hold the Olympics (link to Agents).

Before the programme aired the IOC launched an Ethics Commission investigation into the allegations. In the days following broadcast the Ethics Commission reported to the Executive Board of the IOC and they unanimously decided to suspend Slavkov and stop him from going to the Athens Olympics. The IOC President, Jacques Rogge told journalists that:

"To say I am disappointed is not enough. I am an angry man because some people are not playing by the rules. Under my leadership I can stress there is zero tolerance for unethical behaviour"

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