INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 18 June 2019 - 1 July 2019
Following earlier media reports on Operation Oikos in Spain, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) released a media statement, commenting on the involvement of their president.
In terms of sanctions, an Australian football player has been handed a 22-game ban and a fine of 20,000 AUD for betting a total of 36 AUD on three games involving his team. Two Bulgarian brothers have been provisionally suspended from professional tennis. A Nigerian tennis player has been suspended for three years and fined $5,000 after admitting to match-fixing and non-reporting offences. Zimbabwe Cricket Board has been suspended with immediate effect by the Sports and Recreation Commission. A Chinese eSports player has been banned for 18 months and had his contract terminated due to accusations of blackmail and match-fixing.
An Olympic marathon silver medalist has been banned for four years for doping. Her younger brother was also banned for nine months for testing positive for strychnine.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended that the director general and president of the Romanian National Anti-Doping Agency (ANAD) are both dismissed from their posts. It comes after a second investigatory report found that the body had directed the Bucharest Laboratory to cover up positive doping tests relating to at least three athletes.
A Lithuanian man was intercepted at the Swiss-German border with two bags of banned doping products and close to 100,000 EUR in cash.
Following a four-year investigation in France into doping cover-ups, extortion and bribe-taking in world athletics, the former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president will stand trial on charges of corruption and money laundering. Leaked emails appear to link a member of the Qatari royal family to a deal that is being investigated as part of an inquiry into alleged corruption surrounding bids for the 2017 athletics world championships and 2020 Olympic Games.
A former UEFA president has been detained and questioned by police in France as part of an investigation into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted unanimously to implement a recommendation of their executive board to oust the International Boxing Association (AIBA) from the Tokyo 2020 Games over issues surrounding its finances and governance and suspend the body until the issues are resolved. AIBA’s executive committee amended one of its bylaws to keep their former president and blocked him from returning as head of AIBA.
Lastly, the resignation of the Japanese Olympic Committee president took effect this June, three years after allegations first surfaced that Tokyo’s Olympics bidding committee had paid more than $2 million to win the 2020 Olympics.
We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.
The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 15 July 2019.
COMUNICADO DE LOS ABOGADOS DE LA RFEF
En relación con la noticia publicada en el Diario Marca en la que se pretende involucrar a la RFEF en la presunta “adjudicación injusta de la construcción de un campo para la SD Huesca, condicionada a la elaboración de un libro para la RFEF por parte de José Antonio Martín “Petón”, la RFEF tiene que efectuar las siguientes precisiones:
1º.- La RFEF no ha adjudicado ningún campo de futbol a la SD Huesca, ni ha concedido subvención alguna por ese concepto. La noticia, por tanto, no solo es falsa, sino también constitutiva de un delito de calumnias o denuncia falsa.
2º.- En el supuesto de que lo hubiese hecho, - que no es el caso – el otorgamiento de dicha subvención en ningún caso hubiese constituido un fraude entre particulares como temerariamente afirma el Policía con Carnet Profesional 127.509, dadas las apremiantes necesidades de campos de futbol que precisa la Federación aragonesa.
3º.- Llama poderosamente la atención que la citada filtración del sumario al Diario Marca – conculcando el artículo 301 de la Ley de Enjuiciamiento Criminal que consagra el carácter reservado de las actuaciones sumariales – se encuentre en flagrante contradicción con las declaraciones efectuadas por el propio Sr. Martín en el sumario en presencia judicial en las que se afirma:
“Preguntado por su relación con el Presidente de la Federación, LUIS RUBIALES DICE que es buena, si bien les acaba de denegar un campo, a pesar de que el HUESCA no tiene campo federativo. Que según manifiesta, LUIS RUBIALES le llamó para decirle que no se iba a financiar un campo de futbol para el disfrute de una entidad privada.”
De lo anterior se infiere que el “hallazgo casual” de la UDEF y su carencia de sustrato fáctico y jurídico, sumado a la interesada filtración de la misma al Diario Marca, no es más que una estrategia para dañar la imagen del Presidente de la RFEF.
4º.- Finalmente, comunicar a la opinión pública que se han dado las órdenes oportunas a los servicios jurídicos de la Real Federación Española de Futbol para que ejerciten las acciones penales que procedan en orden al sumario Oikos.
Source: 25 June 2019, Real Federación Española de Fútbol
Aussie Rules Football Player Given 22-Game Ban, AU$20,000 Fine for Betting $36
Jaidyn Stephenson, an Australian rules football player, has been handed a 22-game ban and a fine of AU$20,000 (£10,900; $13,700) for betting a total of AU$36 (£19; $24) on three games. The Collingwood player reportedly bet on three games involving his team, totaling AU$36, all of which came to nothing, reports ABC News. As a result of his actions, though, and knowing that he’s not supposed to bet on Australian Football League (AFL) games, he was given a 22-match ban, 12 of which were suspended.
Stephenson said at a press conference that he didn’t think of the “bigger picture and the long-term consequences” when placing those bets, adding: It was an incredibly stupid thing to do and I now realize the seriousness of what I have done. According to Andrew Dillon, AFL general counsel, this is the toughest sanction a player can face for betting on games.
“There is no clearer instruction – AFL players, club and league officials are banned from betting on Australian rules football in any form,” he said. “The rules are very clear and if you breach them you will be penalized. Jaidyn’s actions have compromised the integrity of the game.”
Using a friend’s betting account, he paid cash for the friend to place two bets for him and on the third, he used his friend’s account to bet online. During the press conference, he said he realized that his three bets could build up into something bigger.
Stephenson then spoke to Geoff Walsh, Magpies general manager of football, to seek his advice on what he had done. Walsh contacted the AFL integrity unit, which began an investigation. Because he reported what he had done, the AFL gave Stephenson the suspended match ban. He will miss the rest of the home-and-away season with the team but will still be permitted to train with them. [...]
Source: Rebecca Campbell, 19 June 2019, Vegas Slots Online
Bulgarian brothers Karen and Yuri Khachatyran provisionally suspended by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer
Bulgarian brothers Karen and Yuri Khachatyran have been provisionally suspended from professional tennis by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Prof Richard McLaren, with effect from 15 June 2019.
The suspensions relate to investigations undertaken by the Tennis Integrity Unit into alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program.
The effect of the provisional suspensions are that the brothers are ineligible to compete in or attend any sanctioned event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.
24-year old Karen is currently ranked 3021 in ITF World Tennis singles while Yuri (19) has an ITF singles ranking of 3126.
The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to corruption in tennis.
Source: 18 June 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit
Condi suspended for 18 months as major LPL match-fixing scandal exposed
Veteran LPL jungler Xiang “Condi” Ren-Jie has been banned for 18 months and had his contract terminated with LGD Gaming amid a major scandal involving accusations of blackmail and match-fixing.
LGD’s manager Song “Hesitate” Zi-Yang—who allegedly attempted to use blackmail to coerce Condi into match-fixing—has been permanently banned from any League of Legends esports events. Academy players Fu “Fdy” Ding-Yuan and Tang “1ntruder” Sheng, meanwhile, will be banned for 10 months for related offenses.
It was clear something was up yesterday when the team announced that Liang “RD” Teng-li would be the starting jungler over Condi for no apparent reason.
Not long afterward, Condi revealed on Chinese social media the reason why: He’d violated match-fixing and betting rules earlier in the year. It appears Condi placed a bet on the outcome of an LGD game during the NEST tournament. He said afterward that he recognized his actions were a serious mistake and acknowledged that he deserved punishment.
Condi reportedly turned himself in to stop blackmail attempts from Hesitate, his manger. Hesitate allegedly approached him during the Summer Split and asked him to throw matches, threatening to expose him if he didn’t.
The official LPL Weibo post charges Condi with participating in, providing information to, and assisting others in actions that undermined the fairness of the competition. Interestingly, it also alleges that he attempted to influence games during the 2019 LPL competition. That contradicts claims from his own statement that he never match-fixed and was only the victim of blackmail.
The two other players implicated in the scandal, Fdy and 1ntruder, were members of LGD’s LDL team, VP Game and played in the bot lane and jungle respectively. They’ve also been immediately replaced by Xu “Flora” Hui and and Yu “Plume” Liang-Jie.
In its statement on the scandal, LGD said it had zero-tolerance for the alleged behavior of its players or manager. It terminated the contracts of the two LDL players, Condi, and Hesitate, as well as another team staff member, Chen “Nara” Si-Zhen. The team said it will investigate the legal ramifications of the case and whether it can take the five players and staff members to court over their actions.
Condi has had a storied career in League of Legends. First joining Masters 3 in 2015, he then made his name on Team WE, gaining a reputation as a phenomenal objective stealer, earning him the nickname Dragon’s Son. He continued to play for Team WE, making a trip to Worlds in 2017 before joining LGD at the end of last year.
Source: Alex Leckie-Zaharic, 18 June 2019, Dotesports
Nigerian tennis player Henry Atseye suspended and fined after admitting to match-fixing offences
Nigerian tennis player Henry Atseye has been suspended for three years and fined $5,000 after admitting to match-fixing and non-reporting offences. One year of the ban and $2,500 of the fine are suspended on condition that no further breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) are committed.
When interviewed by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), Mr Atseye admitted to contriving the outcome of a match he played at the ITF Futures F3 tournament in Abuja, Nigeria in May 2017. He also admitted failing to report a corrupt approach and knowledge of corrupt activity by a third party to the TIU.
The case was adjudicated by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Prof. Richard McLaren, who on finding him guilty of the breaches of the TACP imposed the suspension and fine. The suspended elements of the ban and fine recognise the player’s admission of wrongdoing and co-operation with the TIU.
The suspension is backdated to begin from 10 May 2019, the date he was provisionally suspended by Prof. McLaren. The effect of this is that Mr Atseye is unable to compete in or attend any sanctioned event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.
Assuming no further breaches of the TACP are committed he will be eligible to resume playing professional tennis from 9 May 2021.
The 30-year old is currently ranked 1884 in ITF World Tennis singles.
The breaches of the TACP he admitted to committing are as follows:
Section D.1.d: No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any Event.
Section D.2.a.1: In the event any Player is approached by any person who offers or provides any type of money, benefit or Consideration to a Player to (i) influence the outcome or any other aspect of any Event, or (ii) provide Inside Information, it shall be the Player’s obligation to report such incident to the TIU as soon as possible.
Section D.2.a.ii In the event any Player knows or suspects that any other Covered Person or other individual has committed a Corruption Offense, it shall be the Player’s obligation to report such knowledge or suspicion to the TIU as soon as possible.
The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to corruption in tennis.
Source: 29 June 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit
Zimbabwe cricket board suspended, interim panel formed
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has been suspended with immediate effect by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), the governing organisation of all registered sporting associations in Zimbabwe.
ZC acting managing director Givemore Makoni has also been suspended from his position, according to a press release issued on Friday. The move from the SRC came a week after it issued a directive that ZC’s electoral process be suspended following alleged complaints about the nomination process and the violation of ZC’s constitution, as well as “various other controversies.”
But the cricket board ignored the directive, and Mukuhlani was re-elected for another four-year term following the meeting.
The SRC said it was forced to act after several complaints of violations of the constitution and other controversies. “It cannot be in national interest that a national sporting association continues to conduct itself in a manner that it suggests that it and its officials are a law unto themselves.
“Certain of its office bearers, past and present, have been the subject matter of allegations involving fraud exchange control violations and other acts of corruption and criminality related to the monies and assets of Zimbabwe Cricket and the International Cricket Council,” the SRC release said.
The controversies over the running of the game also played its part. “It is a matter of documented public knowledge that Zimbabwe Cricket has been the subject matter of several controversies over the years. There have been allegations of outright disregard for its own constitution, neglect of the development of the game and related infrastructure throughout the country.”
The release added that David Ellman-Brown, Ahmed Ibrahim, Charlie Robertson, Cyprian Mandenge, Robertson Chinyengetere, Sekesai Nhokwara and Duncan Frost were announced as part of an interim committee to run the sport in the country.
Source: 22 June 2019, Sportstar
Rio 2016 marathon runner-up Eunice Kirwa banned four years for doping
MONACO - Olympic marathon silver medalist Eunice Kirwa has been banned for four years for doping. The Athletics Integrity Unit says Kirwa’s ban will end on May 7, 2023, when she will be 38. Kirwa, who was born in Kenya but switched nationality and represented Bahrain at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will keep her silver medal because the AIU disqualified only her results from April 1-May 7. In Rio, Kirwa was second behind Jemima Sumgong of Kenya, who has since been caught doping and lying to investigators. Both Kirwa and Sumgong, who is serving an eight-year ban but has retained her Olympic title, were caught using EPO. Kirwa’s younger brother, marathon runner Felix Kirwa, was also banned this month for nine months. He tested positive for strychnine.
Source: AP, 18 June 2019, Japan Times
WADA recommends dismissal of two Romanian National Anti-Doping Agency officials after finding doping cover-up
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended that the director general and President of the Romanian National Anti-Doping Agency (ANAD) are both dismissed from their posts.
It comes after a second investigatory report found that the body had directed the Bucharest Laboratory to cover up positive doping tests relating to at least three athletes.
The report, which was provided to The Sports Integrity Initiative by a whistleblower, found that directions were given by Graziela Elena Vâjial, the ANAD President from its foundation in 2005 until January 2019, when she was replaced by Pavel-Cristian Balaj after retiring from office.
It also discovered that ANAD director general Valentina Alexandrescu "was, at best, wilfully blind to the misconduct of President Vâjial or, at worst, actively complicit".
WADA's report, which is marked as confidential and was presented at its Foundation Board meeting in Montreal in May, recommends that both are dismissed from their posts although Vâjial has now already gone.
Two senior directors involved in the cover-up of positive samples at the Bucharest Laboratory have already been sacked after new leadership was established in November of last year.
WADA revealed in May 2018 that the samples had been covered-up by director Valentin Pop and his deputy Mirela Zorio under the direction of a third party, now identified as ANAD.
Günter Younger, director of WADA's intelligence and investigations department, announced at a Foundation Board meeting in Montreal that an "external entity" had pressured the directors into covering up the samples at the Laboratory in the Romanian capital.
The accreditation of the Laboratory was initially suspended for six months in February but was then extended pending the outcome of the investigation.
In April, WADA announced that it had reinstated the accreditation and that the Laboratory was, therefore, able to resume all of its anti-doping activities, including the analysis of urine and blood samples, with immediate effect.
The decision to reinstate the accreditation was based on a recommendation made by WADA's Laboratory Expert Group, which was satisfied that it had successfully addressed its non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories.
The initial report from the intelligence and investigations team revealed Pop had concealed at least two positive samples given by unnamed Romanian wrestlers in 2016.
Pop did not report the findings, the report said, and instead entered the samples into the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) as being negative.
He did not act alone, however.
The Sports Integrity Initiative reports that, despite WADA pressure leading to August 1 in 2016 legislative changes in Romania, the second report found that ANAD continued to influence the Laboratory until December 2017.
It found this was partly due to Vâjial rejecting suggested changes to staff recruiting policy, following a Government moratorium on hiring new staff.
The Sports Integrity Initiative also states it appears that Alexandrescu was still employed by ANAD on May 14, after Balaj took over from Vâjial as ANAD President.
The report found that Vâjial directed the Bucharest Laboratory to hide a positive test for human growth hormone as an internal quality assurance scheme blood sample, which was said to be an idea of Zorio.
"This allegation was investigated as part of the phase one investigation," the phase two report reads.
"However, fear of reprisals from the well-connected President Vâjial prevented witnesses from coming forward.
"Consequently, the allegation could not be substantiated.
"On November 29, 2017, following the suspension of the Bucharest Laboratory and the removal of then director Pop, two Laboratory staff felt sufficiently safe to come forward."
These two Laboratory staff were Dr Chistiana Stan and Dr Ani Toboc.
Stan said that following a WADA raid on the Laboratory in November 2016, Vâjial convened a meeting at which she ordered Laboratory staff to protect the athlete concerned – weightlifter Gabriel Sîncrian.
The report states that Sîncrian, stripped of his Olympic men's 85 kilograms bronze medal from Rio 2016 after the International Weightlifting Federation reported he had tested positive for excess testosterone in a test connected to the Games, will be interviewed as part of this investigation.
The second WADA report found that Vâjial ordered the Bucharest Laboratory to inform her of every sample showing a presumptive adverse analytical findings (AAF) after the initial testing procedure.
In 2016, as a result of this, she was informed of AAFs involving furosemide for Romanian wrestlers Elena Scarlatescu and Suzana Seicariu.
WADA’s second report found that even if furosemide was detected, Vâjial had ordered Pop to report the samples as negative.
It also discovered that she ordered Pop to compose a letter backdated to April 28, 2016, directing that analysis of samples would only be communicated to ANAD through ADAMS.
Source: Daniel Etchells, 18 June 2019, Inside the Games
Un Lituanien pincé à la douane de Bâle avec deux sacs de produits dopants
Venu d'Allemagne, un Lituanien de 40 ans a été intercepté alors qu'il tentait d'entrer en Suisse, à la douane de Bâle, avec deux sacs de produits dopants. Près de 100'000 euros en liquide ont aussi été retrouvés dans sa voiture. Un Lituanien a tenté d'introduire en Suisse des produits dopants interdits. Il a été contrôlé à la douane autoroutière de Bâle. Les douaniers ont aussi trouvé 99'000 euros dissimulés dans une cache de la voiture. L'homme âgé de 40 ans a été contrôlé alors qu'il entrait en Suisse en provenance d'Allemagne le 12 juin, a indiqué vendredi l'Administration fédérale des douanes. Dans son véhicule, les douaniers ont trouvé deux sacs remplis de produits dopants interdits. Ceux-ci ont été saisis et remis à Anti Doping Suisse. Des spécialistes ont alors contrôlé le reste du véhicule. Dans une cache, ils ont trouvé 99'000 euros. Le contrebandier a dû payer une amende.
Source: 21 June 2019, La Cote
ODDS AND ENDS
Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) & Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA)
UEFA and SIGA sign cooperation agreement
UEFA has signed a cooperation agreement with the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) to encourage dialogue aimed at safeguarding the long-term integrity of the game in Europe.
The agreement aims to use the organisations' strengths to foster the development and implementation of the highest standards across sport in general, and football in particular, in the areas of good governance, integrity, ethics and the protection of vulnerable participants throughout Europe.
Speaking at the signing of the accord, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said:
"The challenges facing sport and society cannot be resolved by individual action.
"Knowledge-sharing and constructive dialogue are essential to make sure that organisations are in the best position to tackle those issues. This agreement with SIGA is therefore an important step in this direction."
SIGA CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros added:
"This landmark Cooperation Agreement ushers in a new era for sport integrity. Founded on a strong reformist spirit, this agreement will give rise to an integrity programme of global standing and embed the highest standards of ethics and governance in the game across the European continent.
"UEFA and its President Aleksander Ceferin continue to blaze a trail for integrity in football. This is a shared pledge and sends a powerful signal to all organisations who care about integrity in sport. Now is the time to join with SIGA and UEFA, and support our proposals to deliver 'clean sport' at all levels."
Source: 24 June 2019, UEFA
Lamine Diack to stand trial for money laundering and corruption
Lamine Diack, the disgraced former IAAF president, has been ordered to stand trial on charges of corruption and money laundering. It follows a four-year investigation in France into doping cover-ups, extortion and bribe-taking in world athletics.
The 86-year-old, who led the International Association of Athletics Federations from 1999-2015 and was one of the most influential men in global sport, is accused of being part of a conspiracy to bury positive drug tests by Russian athletes in return for money. This conspiracy also involved the Russian athletics chief and IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev, Russia’s former national middle distance coach Alexei Melnikov, Diack’s former aide Habib Cissé and the IAAF’s former head of anti-doping, Gabriel Dollé. These four will also face trial on the same charges, along with Diack’s son, Papa Massata Diack, the disgraced former IAAF marketing executive who was banned for life from athletics in 2016. They all deny the charges.
All six will be tried for their role in the case of Liliya Shobukhova, the London Marathon winner in 2010, who paid $600,000 in exchange for covering up violations in her athlete biological passport thus allowing her to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
According to the prosecutors, Diack and his son, who oversees a sports consulting business called Black Tidings, solicited payments from athletes, either directly or indirectly, totalling €3.45m in exchange for covering up positive doping tests and allowing athletes to go on competing.
Massata Diack has also emerged as a central figure in French judicial probes of suspected corruption involving the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and other sports events. The judicial official says the younger Diack will stand trial for complicity in corruption and money laundering. Believed to be living in Senegal, he could be tried in absentia.
The French authorities have also been investigating allegations Diack Sr received bribes for his votes in several bidding contests for high-profile sports events. The former International Olympic Committee member is claimed to have controlled the votes of several African colleagues.
It is alleged that Diack Sr, a former mayor of Senegal’s capital Dakar, used these payments to fund political campaigns in his homeland, as well as a lavish lifestyle in Monaco, where the IAAF is based.
Source: Sean Ingle, 24 June 2019, The Guardian
Platini arrested on suspicion of corruption over 2022 Qatar World Cup bid
Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been detained by police in France as part of an investigation into the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
An investigation into the controversial decision to allow Qatar to host the tournament, despite the Western Asian country's human rights record and logistical problems posed by the nation's laws, has led to the former France star being detained by French prosecutors.
The French Ministry of Justice confirmed that anti-corruption officers took the 63-year-old in for questioning in the Parisian suburb of Nanterre on Tuesday morning.
A statement from the Ministry of Justice, given to Omnisport, read: "Platini was taken in for questioning on Tuesday by officers of the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police.
"Following questioning, he was detained."
French newspaper Le Monde reports that the arrest is in relation to a meeting Platini admitted attending with former France president Nicolas Sarkozy and then Qatari crown prince - now Emir - Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani just days before the vote to decide which country would host the 2022 edition of the tournament.
In 2015, Platini was banned from football-related activity for four years - reduced twice from an initial eight - due to a breach of FIFA's code of ethics after it was found he received a "disloyal payment" from the governing body's ex-president Sepp Blatter in 2011.
Platini has always maintained his innocence in the face of those charges, though, insisting in 2016 that he "committed not the slightest fault" and then saying last May that he was a victim of Blatter trying to pass the blame along.
"In the end, he tried to save his own skin," Platini told Le Monde in 2018. "Blatter does not defend anyone else, he never defended me. He's the most selfish person I have seen in my life.
"He always said I would be his last scalp. I know he was fixated on me, to the end, ever since the 'enough is enough' comment, even without considering the jealousy he had for the footballer I was."
Source: Goal.com, 18 June 2019, Yahoo! Sports
France and Qatar
IAAF agent 'asked Qatari royal' for $5m in bid for sporting events
Leaked emails appear to link a member of the Qatari royal family to a deal that is being investigated as part of a inquiry into alleged corruption surrounding bids for the 2017 athletics world championships and 2020 Olympic Games.
French investigators have spent three years scrutinising two payments of $3.5m made in October and November 2011, a month before a vote by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to decide the host of the 2017 world championships. French investigators suspect the payments may have been a bribe to win votes for Qatar for the event, which was eventually won by London.
Emails seen by the Guardian and the French website Mediapart, which are not in the French police file, suggest that the disgraced IAAF marketing consultant Papa Massata Diack discussed a transfer of money in emails to an account run by Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani, just before the $3.5m payments were made. Al-Thani is a member of the royal family and chief of staff to Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who was then the crown prince and heir to the throne and became the emir of Qatar in 2013.
Massata Diack, who is wanted by Interpol on corruption charges, begins one email to “Sheikh Khalid” by telling him: “Thanks again for your hospitality and diligence during my stay in Doha,” before providing his IAAF letter of affirmation that “QSI or Oryx QSI” is asking.
“I do not owe it to them but to Your HH and yourself as you only know the role I play in this matter,” he adds. HH appears to refer to Tamim Al Thani, who was known as HH Heir Apparent when the letter was written in 2011.
The Guardian, which published part of this letter in 2014, has seen evidence that points to “Sheikh Khalid” being the chief of staff to the then crown prince, based on an analysis with Mediapart of dozens of other emails sent to the same Hotmail account, some of which use Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani’s full name in Arabic.
In the email Massata Diack says: “You will find attached the bank details for the transfer of $4.5 million which must be done as agreed.” In red ink he then adds: “The balance of 440,000 must remain in Doha in cash, I will pick it up the next time I come.”
Papa Massata Diack specifies that the payment must be made “urgently today so that I can finalize things with the president” and show him “the signed contract and the bank confirmation”.
The “president” in question appears to be his father Lamine, who was at the time the IAAF president. Papa Massata Diack and Lamine Diack were this week ordered to stand trial on charges of corruption and money laundering by French authorities. They are accused of being part of a conspiracy to bury positive drug tests by Russian athletes in return for money. They all deny the charges.
As for the contract, it is believed to be between Massata Diack’s company Pamodzi and Oryx QSI, the company headed by a brother of Nasser al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain football club and BeIN Sports.
Seven days later, Oryx QSI made a $3m transfer to Pamodzi. A second one of $500,000 followed on 7 November 2011.
Neither Al-Thani or Al Thani responded to the request for comment from the Guardian and Mediapart. Lamine Diack’s lawyer also said he did not want to answer any questions before his case was heard.
Massata Diack also refused to respond directly when quizzed over the payment. However after confirming the weather was pleasant in Senegal he added: “It is better to see you and the French judges your ultimate bosses – in courts – to get to the bottom of it!!! The investigation is over and if you are sure of your proofs, just present them there.”
This latest development, coming after the former Uefa president Michel Platini was arrested as part of a police corruption probe into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, will increase the scrutiny on how the country has tried to acquire major sporting events.
Al-Khelaifi and his right-hand man Yousef al-Obaidly, the chief executive of BeIN Sports, two of the most senior figures in sport, are facing “active corruption” charges related to the $3.5m payment. They have been declared “mise en examen”, which they are now suspects in the case rather than a witness.
Al-Khelaifi denies all allegations. Al-Obaidly also denies any suggestion of corruption. His representatives insist that the $3.5m wire transfers were a “non-refundable deposit” by a private company Oryx QSI to Pamodzi Sports Marketing, owned by the IAAF’s appointed agent, Massata Diack, and not to Massata Diack directly. They say this was part of a wider $32.6m bid for athletics TV rights that was dependent on Qatar winning the rights to hold the 2017 world championships.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi was also recently asked in court about his connection to the bids for the 2017 world athletics championships and the 2020 Olympics. “I did not deal at all with the negotiations for the World Championships in Athletics or for the Olympic Games,” he told the investigating judge, Renaud van Ruymbeke, in a transcript seen by the Guardian. “For these events, there is an organising committee in which I am not a stakeholder.”
However several documents sent from the Hotmail address used by Nasser Al-Khelaifi as part of a previously unreported five-man “brain trust” [sic] tasked with helping the then crown prince, “brain storm strategies and coordinate efforts” to win the 2017 championships and the 2020 Olympics.
Other emails suggest Al-Khelaifi’s willingness to use his role as boss of Al Jazeera Sports – which later changed its name to BeIN Sports – to help Qatar win the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
A confidential letter sent on 26 June 2011 to him by Saoud al-Thani – the general secretary of the Qatari Olympic Committee and chairman of the 2017 World Championships bidding committee – asks him to “support the event” by buying the TV rights for the 2017 world athletics championships, as well as the rights of the other IAAF competitions for 2014-2019.
A week later, Al-Khelaifi responds that he accepts all the requests, adding that Al Jazeera Sports “is very pleased to be part of the Team of the Doha 2017 IAAF World Championship Bid Committee and working closely toward the success of this event in Qatar”.
Al-Khelaifi did not respond to questions sent by the Guardian and Mediapart. His lawyer added: “Mr Al Khelaifi only answers to the judges. He has nothing to declare to you and regrets the violation [of the confidentiality] of the probe.”
Source: Sean Ingle, 25 June 2019, The Guardian
International Boxing Association (AIBA)
L’AIBA met Gafur Rakhimov à la porte
L’électrochoc a été douloureux. Ses effets se feront longtemps sentir. Mais le résultat le valait bien. Exclue du mouvement olympique depuis le début de la semaine, privée des Jeux de Tokyo 2020, l’AIBA s’est enfin résolue à prendre la seule décision capable de préserver son avenir : elle a mis Gafur Rakhimov à la porte.
Au lendemain de la session du CIO, où les membres de l’institution olympique ont approuvé à l’unanimité l’exclusion de l’AIBA, son comité exécutif a été réuni en urgence jeudi 27 juin à Genève. La réunion s’annonçait cruciale pour l’avenir de l’organisation. Elle l’a été.
A l’initiative de deux de ses membres, l’Ukrainien Volodymyr Prodyvus et la Bulgare Emilia Grueva, les délégués ont été invités à se prononcer par vote sur la suppression d’un article des statuts de l’AIBA. Il permettait à l’Ouzbek Gafur Rakhimov, qui s’était volontairement mis en retrait de l’organisation depuis le mois de mars dernier, de retrouver son fauteuil de président.
Pressés par l’état d’urgence, les membres du comité exécutif ont voté massivement pour la modification des statuts. Ils ont été 13 à se prononcer en sa faveur, pour un seul vote contre. Huit délégués ont préféré s’abstenir.
Le résultat est clair. Gafur Rakhimov, le milliardaire ouzbek soupçonné d’appartenir au monde du crime organisé, ne pourra plus présider l’AIBA. Les statuts lui interdisent désormais de retrouver son siège présidentiel.
A Genève, jeudi 27 juin, le comité exécutif a également décidé de lui envoyer un courrier lui demandant de renoncer de façon définitive à toute fonction au sein de l’organisation. Il s’est également prononcé en faveur d’un prolongement du contrat de Tom Virgets comme directeur exécutif. L’Américain devait quitter l’AIBA en fin de semaine, après avoir échoué à conserver l’organisation internationale au sein du mouvement olympique.
La suite ? Elle reste floue. Le Marocain Mohamed Moustahsane, appelé à assurer la présidence par intérim après le pas de côté de Gafur Rakhimov en mars dernier, conserve son fauteuil. Mais il ne devrait pas s’y éterniser. Son intérim n’a freiné en rien la chute de l’AIBA.
Les dirigeants de la boxe mondiale ont également voté, jeudi, pour l’organisation prochaine d’un congrès extraordinaire. A l’ordre du jour, l’élection d’un nouveau président. Il devrait se tenir le 15 novembre 2019 à Lausanne.
Exclue des Jeux de Tokyo 2020, montrée du doigt par le CIO, l’AIBA est encore loin d’entrevoir le bout du tunnel. Ses caisses sont vides. Son image est sérieusement écornée. Mais elle est désormais débarrassée de Gafur Rakhimov. Il était temps. A charge maintenant, pour ses représentants, de lui trouver un remplaçant taillé pour la remettre à flots.
Source: 27 June 2019, Francs Jeux
Japan's gentleman equestrian at heart of Olympics corruption probe
TOKYO (Reuters) - Surrounded by reporters in March, Tsunekazu Takeda, teary-eyed and blinking as cameras flashed around him, explained his decision to step down as Japan’s Olympics chief.
“I feel very bad that I’m causing a disturbance like this ahead of next year’s games in Tokyo,” he said. “I don’t believe I’ve done anything illegal.”
It was a spectacular fall from grace for the former Olympic equestrian, who served as the president of Japan’s Olympic committee for nearly two decades.
Takeda’s resignation, which takes effect in June, comes three years after allegations first surfaced that Tokyo’s Olympics bidding committee had paid more than $2 million to win the 2020 Olympics.
French prosecutors are investigating Takeda in the matter, although he has not formally been charged. He has denied wrongdoing, saying he believed the payments were for legitimate lobbying efforts.
“I did not personally have any involvement in the decision-making process,” Takeda said at a January news conference.
Takeda, who lives in Tokyo, declined to respond in specifics to questions Reuters posed in writing.
His lawyers, replying on his behalf, said that queries about Takeda’s past invaded his privacy and that many of the points raised by Reuters were “inaccurate” without providing details. The lawyers also said Takeda would no longer hold a public position after retiring from the JOC.
More than a dozen former business associates, family members, and acquaintances describe Takeda as mild-mannered and lacking business savvy. Some of them expressed surprise that he was being investigated in connection with Olympics corruption.
A panel appointed by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) in 2016 cleared the bidding committee, which Takeda led, of bribery allegations. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has also closed its own ethics case on the matter.
But some politicians in Japan say the issue of who was involved with the alleged bribery scheme remains unresolved.
“This isn’t over just because Takeda decided to step down,” said Yuichiro Tamaki, the leader of the opposition Democratic Party For the People, who questioned Takeda in parliament. “In my impression, he seemed to be just a figurehead.” [...]
Source: Daniel Leussink, Ami Miyazaki, Mari Saito, 20 June 2019, Reuters
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