Special Investigation Committee Clears AIBA’s Corruption Allegations

December 13, 2011

The Final Report of the Special Investigation Committee looking into claims made by BBC journalists last September of corruption involving the London 2012 Olympic Games has been welcomed Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) as it has exonerated the organisation.

The committee, chaired by the chairman of AIBA’s disciplinary committee, has declared the BBC report – which claimed an Azeri businessman bankrolled AIBA’s World Series of Boxing in return for two guaranteed Azeri medals at London 2012, to be “groundless and unsupported by any credible evidence.”

However the BBC have hit back, insisting they stand by the claims made in the programme, and declaring their intention to continue to co-operate with an independent investigation by the International Olympic Committee Ethics Commission.

The special investigations committee’s statement added: “We have conducted an exhaustive investigation over the past two months and we have concluded that the allegations…were completely without merit.”

The committee accepted that an investment was made by an Azeri businessman, Hamid Hamidov, but said the investment was purely for “commercial purposes” and “the subject of medals had never come up in any discussions or agreements.”

The AIBA President met on Tuesday morning with Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to deliver a copy of the Final Report.

The main finding of the inquiry was that the allegations made by BBC journalists in a TV programme of money supposedly having been paid by Azerbaijan’s government in exchange for promises of Olympic gold medals were “groundless and not supported by any credible evidence.”

“We are pleased that after a lengthy investigation, the full facts have emerged and the air has been cleared,” Dr. Wu said in a statement Tuesday. “We welcome the findings of this important process, and are pleased that our procedures and our integrity have stood up to the scrutiny of an independent inquiry.”

The AIBA President also said he has “full confidence” in Ivan Khodabakhsh, the Chief Operating Officer of World Series of Boxing and is “pleased that he has been fully exonerated by the Special Investigation Committee.”

He noted the Final Report had detailed how Mr. Khodabakhsh, whom the BBC claimed had made promises of gold medals, had never actually met the investor, had no role in the negotiations for the investment, and in any case has no role in boxing competition at the London Olympic Games.

Dr. Wu added that within 24 hours of receiving the independent inquiry’s findings, he had presented a copy of the Final Report to the IOC President.

“I wanted to share the full report of the Special Investigation Committee with President Rogge as soon as I received it as this is appropriate,” Dr Wu said.

In a statement to Press Association Sport, the BBC said: “Newsnight is aware of AIBA’s position and we stand by our investigation.

“While we anticipate AIBA making all the evidence they reviewed public, we are continuing to co-operate with the ongoing independent investigation by the International Olympic Committee Ethics Commission.”

The Special Investigation Committee was appointed on 23 September 2011, as soon as a BBC programme, made its allegations.