'Nobody's immune' - Bach defends IOC handling of corruption allegations

Sports | 13 Sep 2017

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach defended his organization's handling of corruption allegations, insisting the movement could never make itself immune from scandal.

The IOC, which is gathering in Lima to award the 2024 and 2028 Olympics to Paris and Los Angeles, has been rocked by allegations of graft in the race for the 2016 Olympics. Top Brazilian official Carlos Nuzman was arrested last week, accused of involvement in a scam to funnel cash to IOC members taking part in a 2009 vote in Copenhagen to decide the 2016 Games, eventually won by Rio de Janeiro. It followed revelations in France about a similar plot involving the 2013 vote in Buenos Aires which awarded the 2020 Games to Tokyo.

In the Brazilian case, a whistleblower told the New York Times he had warned the IOC about Nuzman's activities repeatedly in the years leading to his arrest.

However Bach stressed that the IOC had acted promptly to deal with allegations as they emerged.

"Credibility for us is extremely important," Bach said. "We have taken a series of measures with regard to good governance. We have changed the candidature procedure. This does not make us immune.

"No organization in the world is immune. No law is so perfect that it cannot be broken. There are laws against fraud and theft for centuries and they are still being broken. It does not make us immune.

"But we feel have done what we can do."

Bach said lawyers for the IOC's Ethics Commission had contacted Brazilian authorities hoping to obtain further details about the Nuzman case. "Once evidence is there we will act and we will be in a position to make recommendations in this respect," he added.

Bach, meanwhile, played down security fears surrounding next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, following North Korea's recent nuclear test and missile launches.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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