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Salt Lake off one hook
IOC rules out sanctions; grand jury to hear evidence
Posted: Thursday January 14, 1999 11:22 AM
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The IOC has ruled out further punishment of the battered Salt Lake Olympics effort. Federal investigators probing bribery allegations surrounding the city's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games might not be so charitable.
A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City will begin hearing evidence of tax fraud and bribery as early as next week, The Salt Lake Tribune said Thursday.
Prosecutors will deliver subpoenas to key players in the Olympic scandal. Many of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee records already reviewed by the International Olympic Committee, the U.S. Olympic Committee and by SLOC's own ethics panel have made their way to the FBI's Salt Lake City headquarters, were Department of Justice attorney Richard Wiedis is heading the government's bribery probe.
"It's the horse before the cart kind of thing," one federal official told The Salt Lake Tribune. "This is the natural next step."
The speed of the subpoenas might suggest the scandal presents federal investigators with a troublesome time limit. Much of federal law is ruled by a five-year statute of limitation. Any violation of the fraud and bribery laws prior to 1993 could fall outside the Justice probe unless it was shown to be part of an ongoing conspiracy to defraud.
Meanwhile, Jacques Rogge, a member of the IOC panel looking into allegations, announced, "The commission will not recommend any action against Salt Lake City. There is no action to be taken."
Rogge said he understood that "around a dozen" IOC members had been implicated in the investigation of Salt Lake, but rejected calls for IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch's resignation as "ridiculous."
USA Today, citing unidentified source with knowledge of the inquiry, reported Thursday that the IOC sent letters to 13 of its members demanding explanations of activities in the Salt Lake City bid.
Rogge also said the IOC was prepared to investigate charges of corruption in other campaigns, including claims that Sydney officials were approached for bribes during their successful bid for the 2000 Summer Games.
Rogge, a Belgian member of the IOC's executive board, said the six-man investigative panel had considered sanctions against Salt Lake officials connected with the 2002 bid.
But he said such action was ruled out when the organizing committee's two top officials, president Frank Joklik and vice president Dave Johnson, resigned last week amid four investigations of cash payments, lavish gifts and scholarships from Salt Lake bidders to IOC members.
"The people who were in the bid are no more," Rogge said in a telephone interview. "They took the actions they thought were needed."
In other developments Wednesday:
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