Rogge sees IOC's corruption probe over in months

AFP, Monday 13 Dec 2010

Olympic chief Jacques Rogge said Monday that that the IOC's own inquiry into senior sports officials, triggered by allegations of corruption at FIFA, should be completed within months

Jacques Rogge

"The commission is working with due diligence it's definitely not something that's for tomorrow but it will not, in my humble opinion, last for months," Rogge told journalists.

The International Olympic Committee seized its ethics commission two weeks ago to examine evidence from a BBC report that targeted three senior executive officials at world football's governing body FIFA.

The included African football chief Issa Hayatou, who became a member of the IOC in 2001, and other members of FIFA's executive committee - Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil and South America's Nicolas Leoz.

They were alleged to have received secret payments from TV rights marketing firm ISMM/ISL more than a decade ago before it went bankrupt.

Rogge insisted that it was up to the IOC's ethics commission to decide how many Olympic officials should be investigated, and suggested that it could look into cases that may have occurred before those concerned joined the top Olympic body.

"The ethics commission will look into the matter and will then decide which persons have to be investigated," Rogge said.

"The whole issue is about the reputation of the IOC potentially being tainted if facts are proven," the Olympic body's president explained.

"We respect the code of confidentiality of the ethics commission."

"In due time they will come up, after the inquiry is finalised, with proposals and the executive board will have to take a decision on those proposals. But we're not there yet, we're still in the inquiry phase," he said.

FIFA insists that investigations related to the collapse of ISMM/ISL in 2001 are over, after a Swiss court handed down fines in 2008 on three company executives for embezzlement or accounting offences.

However, prosecutors revealed that the evidence opened a trail of suspect payments by the firm through offshore companies.

The IOC vowed "zero tolerance" for corruption after the report.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is standing for re-election in May 2011.

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