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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
Ivan Slavkov biography
Ivan Slavkov is, according to the Bulgarian Olympic Committee, one of the best known and most popular individuals in Bulgaria.

He is a Professor of Sports Sciences at Kiev University, used to be the head of Bulgarian television and is a former government minister.

Panorama's revelations about Slavkov's connections with Goran Takac and Slavkov's willingness to discuss how members of the IOC can be "persuaded" to vote for an Olympic candidate city caused a huge outcry in Bulgaria.

Despite being suspended by the IOC he remains President of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee and head of the Bulgarian Football Union.

Slavkov is son-in-law of Bulgaria's former communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, infamous for ordering both the shooting of ethnic Turks and the murder of Bulgarian dissident and BBC journalist Georgi Markov with a poison-tipped umbrella on Waterloo Bridge in 1978.

Since the collapse of Communism Slavkov has been accused and subsequently acquitted of several crimes including: illegal firearms possession and gross embezzlement of public funds from Sofia's unsuccessful bid for the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Working with him during that bid was none other that Goran Takac, who Slavkov described as a "good professional and one of the best sporting consultants."

Slavkov was investigated by the IOC after it was alleged he offered support to a businessman who went on to try and solicit bribes from Cape Town when they were bidding to stage the 2004 Games. According to Chris Ball, who led the Cape Town bid, the businessman had a letter signed by Slavkov in his capacity as President of the Bulgarian NOC and this man then went on to suggest that he could deliver IOC votes in return for money. Cape Town refused to pay bribes and reported the incident to the IOC.

But in 2000 the IOC Ethics Commission decided "after an exhaustive examination of the facts and elements, not to pursue the examination of the Slavkov affair."

The Commission did suggest "that the IOC ask its members to be extremely careful when giving letters of recommendation to Olympic parties or to third persons, in relation with an Olympic candidature."

And in the October 2004 Ethics Commission investigation into Panorama's allegations against Slavkov the Commission noted in relation to the Cape Town investigation that "Mr Slavkov was thus particularly aware of his obligation to respect the Olympic Charter and the Code of Ethics on the subject of relations with cities wishing to organise the Olympic Games and to remain vigilant at all times in this regard."

In 2003 Slavkov lobbied the Bulgarian authorities to release John Kim, son of the then IOC Vice President Kim Un Yong, who was being held in Bulgaria on charges relating to alleged bribes in the Salt Lake City Olympics.

And Panorama has a copy of a letter of support that Slavkov sent to disgraced and expelled IOC member Sergio Santander Fantini in which he describes the Salk Lake City bribe scandal as a: "brutal interference in the life of our organisation with undisguised global financial interests."

In 2000 Slavkov was quoted as saying he counts Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi as a family friend.


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