IOC president supports AIBA investigation into recent allegations
BEIJING (AP) -- IOC President Jacques Rogge on Friday welcomed an investigation by amateur boxing's governing body into allegations that millions of dollars have been paid to guarantee Azerbaijan two gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics.
The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) said it will look into the allegations made by BBC TV's Newsnight on Thursday that $9 million from Azerbaijan was paid to World Series Boxing, a franchised league supported by AIBA.
"We welcome the inquiry by the AIBA and we have asked the BBC to provide evidence ... we take every allegation very seriously," Rogge said at a news conference after a sports seminar in Beijing.
Since the allegations surfaced, AIBA President Wu Ching-kuo has denounced the BBC claims saying they are "totally untrue and ludicrous," but added he would investigate them.
According to the BBC report, an Azeri national paid the money to a WSB competition.
The BBC's report comes just days before the world amateur boxing championships get under way on Sept 26. in Baku, Azerbaijan. The country won a bronze medal in boxing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
After the program was broadcast, the AIBA issued a statement saying a loan to WSB had been made by "an Azerbaijani investor ... made on a commercial basis and with a view to a commercial return for the investor."
AIBA said it believed the allegations were made by individuals with an ax to grind and added that the claims "demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the procedures which lead to the award of Olympic boxing medals and the impossibility of influencing these."
The statement added: "Any suggestion that the loan was made in return for promises of gold medals at the 2012 Olympics is preposterous and utterly untrue."
The BBC report cited unnamed "whistleblowers" and "insiders" as having told its reporters they had been informed about a deal by WSB's chief operating officer Ivan Khodabakhsh. The program also said the money was needed by the WSB because it had run into financial difficulties in the United States.
Khodabakhsh called the allegations "an absolute lie."
The BBC's report comes just days before the world amateur boxing championships get under way on Sept 26. in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan's only boxing medal at the last Olympics in Beijing was a bronze.
Rogge did not give details as to what role the IOC would play in the investigations.
IOC spokesman Mark Adams earlier highlighted moves by the IOC to ensure fairness in its competitions.
"We would also note that the judging process in boxing as in other sports at the games are transparent and open to public scrutiny - and a number of sports including boxing have made significant changes to their procedures in recent years to deal with any potential issues," he said.
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