African sprint legend, Frankie Fredericks of Namibia, is being investigated by the IOC ethics commission over allegation of bribe for votes in the award of hosting rights to Rio de Janeiro.
French newspaper, Le Monde, had made reports linking the former silver medallists in the 100 and 200 metres at both 1992 and 1996 Olympics to collecting money from Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF president, Lamine Diack who has been banned for life.
Fredericks is a member of the International Olympic Committee and currently the head of the evaluation commission for the 2024 Olympics due to be awarded later this year. He was alleged to have been paid $299,300 through an offshore company linked to him.
According to Le Monde, the revelation emerged during the course of the criminal investigation into widespread corruption in world athletics, which also uncovered a $1.5 million payment made to former IAAF marketing consultant Diack jnr by a firm linked to a rich Brazilian businessman three days before the vote.
The $299,300 subsequently given by Diack to Fredericks was done via the former’s company, Pamodzi Sports Consulting, to a firm set up by the latter, Yemi Limited, in the offshore tax haven of the Seychelles.
The former Namibian sprinter who was one of those that scrutinised of the vote for the award of 2016 Olympics had turned himself up for investigation.
“The amount paid by Pamodzi Sports Consulting to Yemi Limited was paid pursuant to the terms of a contract dated 11 March 2007,” said Fredericks, part of the team led by now-IOC president Thomas Bach which scrutinised the vote for the 2016 Games.
“I had the idea to develop a Relay Championships. In addition I supported the IAAF Marketing Programme, the African Athletics Programme, the IAAF Continental Programme and the African Athletics Championships.
“My attendance at various events and promotional efforts are documented and accordingly these services can be substantiated by other evidence. Payment was in respect of services rendered in the period 2007 to 2011.
“The payment has nothing whatsoever to do with the Olympic Games. By the way, I was not an IAAF board member at the time, but an IAAF ambassador, and did not breach any regulation or rule of ethics.”
The $1.5m received by Diack jnr was said by Le Monde to be suspected by French prosecutors of being used to influence votes for the 2016 Games.
Diack jnr was banned for life from athletics last year for his part in Russian doping scandal and wanted for questioning in France, where his father is on bail over allegations he, too, profited from the scheme.
Diack jnr told Le Monde, “Good luck for your article!” while Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said: “The elections were clean. Rio won by 66 votes against 32. It was a clear victory.”
The IOC announced Friday that Fredericks reported himself both to its ethics commission and the IAAF ethics board.
“The IOC trusts that Mr Fredericks will bring all the elements to prove his innocence against these allegations made by Le Monde,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
“He turned to the IAAF ethics commission already yesterday. Immediately after a link was made between this contractual payment and the vote for the host city of the Olympic Games 2016, Mr Fredericks himself also turned to the IOC ethics commission, which is now following up on all the allegations in order to fully clarify this matter.”
The IAAF added in a statement: “The ethics board will carefully consider the information provided to it, including seeking any further information or clarification which it considers it needs, in order to determine whether these matters warrant the opening of a formal investigation.”