23 Sep 2011

Inquiry into claim money paid for Olympic medals guarantee

5:39 pm on 23 September 2011

An inquiry has been ordered by the Amateur International Boxing Association into allegations Azerbaijan was promised two gold medals at next year's London Olympics in return for a $US10 million payment.

The man accused of organising this, Ivan Khodabakhsh, rejects the allegations.

The BBC says it has uncovered evidence of secret payments of millions of dollars from Azerbaijan to international boxing organisation World Series Boxing (WSB).

Whistleblowers say that WSB's chief claimed the money was in return for a guarantee that Azerbaijani fighters would win two boxing gold medals at the Olympics.

The boxing organiser at the Olympics, AIBA, admits an Azeri national paid $US9 million to one of their competitions but denies any deal to fix medals.

Lawyers for the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) told the BBC that any such allegation was "preposterous and utterly untrue".

That view was backed by AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, who told the Newsnight programme that the claims were "totally untrue and ludicrous", adding that "WSB is conducted in a totally transparent way".

However, he said that AIBA had a zero tolerance policy on corruption and that he would conduct an immediate investigation into the allegations.