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Sydney committee welcomes evidence of wrongdoing
Posted: Wednesday January 13, 1999 01:27 PM
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- The International Olympic Committee will examine claims by a senior member of Sydney's successful bid for the 2000 Games that he was approached to offer bribes, an IOC member said Wednesday.
Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper said he had spoken to Bruce Baird, a former New South Wales state Olympics minister and now member of federal parliament, about the claims.
"He's advised me of two conversations he had at the time of the Sydney bid, which may have been interpreted to be seeking some sort of opportunity," Gosper told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
"I've asked him to set that down on paper and I'll use that as part of the process we're going to have when I get back to Lausanne next week."
International Olympic Committee member Jacques Rogge said earlier Wednesday he would welcome any evidence of bribery allegations surrounding the winning bid by Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Baird says he is prepared to name people who sought bribes from him while claiming to represent IOC members, but that he had been surprised the IOC has not jumped on the offer.
Baird said Wednesday he has given a statement to Gosper claiming that one IOC member and an intermediary made approaches seeking cash in exchange for votes for Sydney's bid, the ABC reported.
Rogge, a member of the IOC executive board and the chairman of the Coordination Commission overseeing Sydney's preparations for the 2000 Games, said he would welcome any information Baird had to offer.
"If Mr. Baird wants to give us information we would be very glad to receive it," Rogge told ABC radio.
"This is the first thing I hear about that, but we are open of course to everything."
"This is about bringing charges against people, it's a serious matter and if Mr. Baird has documents, we would be extremely glad to receive them and discuss them with him. To take disciplinary actions you need evidence, you need material evidence."
Baird said later that he had provided several pages of information to Gosper.
"It's not War and Peace, I am providing the name of the person who approached me on behalf of, or claiming to speak on behalf of several IOC members looking for commercial inducement," Baird said.
"I am also providing the name of the IOC member who contacted me the night before the vote in Monte Carlo to say he wanted to see me and then talked about such issues as can you please outline to me the reasons why I should vote for Sydney and what incentives can you suggest there should be in voting for Sydney."
Baird said it was useful for him to detail the incidents.
"If I am providing the evidence of what was said to me and that corroborates with what was said by Salt Lake City and the officials there, that's very useful."
Gosper said Baird's information in no way compared to the substantial information and evidence in respect to Salt Lake City.
"(It was) in no way in my judgment sufficient to raise any questions about the Sydney process," Gosper said.
Baird also told ABC Television's 7:30 Report that one approach had come from someone claiming to represent African delegates.
"This person claimed to represent a group of other members of the IOC ... they were suggesting it was a bloc of African votes."
He called for a complete overhaul of the bidding process.
"We flew all over the world taking people to five-star restaurants, they came here in five-star hotels flying first class and we looked after them, sucked up to them, for several years," he said.
"That process is totally wrong, it should have been a small technical committee that evaluated the cities on a technical basis . . . in and out in four, five days maximum."
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