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Veteran member accepted lavish treatment in Amsterdam
Posted: Friday January 22, 1999 12:59 PM
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- Joao Havelange of Brazil, one of the International Olympic Committee's longest-serving members, accepted lavish treatment by Dutch officials trying to bring the 1992 Games to Amsterdam, a newspaper reported Friday.
De Telegraaf said Havelange was among numerous IOC members who were wined and dined, given expensive gifts and escorted regularly to exclusive brothels in the Dutch capital.
The newspaper did not specify the treatment the 82-year-old Brazilian industrialist received, but quoted a former Amsterdam organizer as saying he "went overboard."
"I remember it very well because he had special wishes -- wishes which were in conflict with the IOC laws," said Pter Kronenberg, who headed the press office of the Amsterdam Olympic Games 1992 Foundation.
Among the gifts were diamonds, bicycles, sports articles, Delft blue porcelain, paintings and exclusive art books, De Telegraaf said, citing former foundation members it did not identify.
"If someone asked for a VCR or a television set, he just got it," it quoted an unidentified former Amsterdam Games official as saying.
An IOC member since 1963 and a former president of FIFA, international soccer's governing body, Havelange up to now has not been implicated in the widening Olympics bribery scandal stemming from Salt Lake City's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games.
Allegations that sex was used to get the 1992 Games to Amsterdam first surfaced earlier this week from Prince Frederic von Saxe-Lauenberg, a member of the Pierre de Coubertin International Committee, an Olympics promotional group.
"A member of the foundation almost had a day job preparing these little outings, and it happened on a very wide scale," De Telegraaf quoted another unidentified former official as saying.
The newspaper said top officials of major international sports federations also could count on very lavish treatment in Amsterdam, and that African IOC members figured prominently among those who were pampered.
"'Do you want my vote? Buy me a Mercedes,''' a former Dutch member of parliament, Marijn de Koning, said an African IOC member told her. "That's the way it went. I was not under the impression that statements like that were meant as a joke."
Earlier this week, Krijn Reitsma, former director of the Amsterdam foundation, said the city in no way violated the rules. "We never gave expensive gifts to IOC members, nor did they ask for it," he said.
Kronenberg told De Telegraaf he as surprised at Reitsma's denials.
"That man apparently has a very selective memory," he said. "He must have known what was going on. I do understand that he wants to keep his own backyard clean, but at this time, you can't just deny everything anymore."
De Telegraaf said foundation members described working in a special "war room" where they examined individual IOC members' preferences, the chances of winning them over and what it would take to get their votes.
Dutch IOC member Anton Geesink is under investigation in the Salt Lake City bribery scandal. A foundation run by the former Olympic judo gold medalist has been accused of accepting $5,000 from the Salt Lake City organizers.
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