Olympics: 2012 Games bid clean: London

Questions about the London 2012 bid continue to swirl. A probe into Brazil's Olympics chief Carlos Nuzman, whom Brazilian officials accused of being the lynchpin in a plot to bribe the IOC into awarding Rio de Janeiro last year's Olympics, has led to
Questions about the London 2012 bid continue to swirl. A probe into Brazil's Olympics chief Carlos Nuzman, whom Brazilian officials accused of being the lynchpin in a plot to bribe the IOC into awarding Rio de Janeiro last year's Olympics, has led to questions about how other Games were awarded.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Team insist there was no wrongdoing amid probe into awarding of Rio Olympics

LONDON • The London 2012 bid team have defended themselves against any suggestion of corruption, insisting they are "as close to certain as possible" the right to host the Olympics in the British capital was won cleanly.

A deepening of the bribery scandal engulfing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has led to questions about how the Sochi 2014, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games were awarded.

Keith Mills, the former chief executive of London 2012, said he witnessed nothing untoward during 18 months of campaigning that culminated in London's victory.

"The IOC had a big problem in the late 1990s and as a result of that put in place some pretty draconian controls," Mills said.

"When we were bidding for London 2012 we couldn't buy IOC members a coffee."

The IOC introduced new rules for bidding cities after the discovery in 1998 of widespread bribery associated with Salt Lake City's bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Ten IOC members resigned or were expelled as a result of the scandal.

"They were all so paranoid they would come under suspicion," Mills said. "Whenever we met they made a big point of making sure it was in public and everything was seen to be above board. Whether that has evaporated over time I don't know."

NO COFFEE, NO PERKS

When we were bidding for London 2012 we couldn't buy IOC members a coffee.

KEITH MILLS , former chief executive of London 2012, on how careful the bid team were in campaigning for the British capital to be an Olympic host.

Sebastian Coe, who led London's bid, told The Guardian he was confident "nothing embarrassing" would be uncovered and his views were echoed by Craig Reedie, the former chairman of the British Olympic Association.

A joint investigation by Brazilian and French authorities earlier this week led to the questioning of the Brazilian Olympic Committee president, Carlos Nuzman, a well-known figure in Olympic circles.

The equivalent of £155,000 (S$272,350) was said to have been found in his closet and seized during a raid on his home.

Prosecutors suspect Nuzman facilitated payments of US$2 million (S$2.69 million) made by a prominent Brazilian businessman into the account of Papa Massata Diack.

They have alleged the money was intended as a bribe for his father Lamine Diack, an influential IOC member and then the president of athletics world governing body, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).

Questions about the London bid are unavoidable given Coe's closeness with Diack Sr, whom he referred to as his "spiritual leader" when he succeeded the Senegalese as IAAF president.

Diack, an IOC member from 1991 to 2013, was instrumental in organising the African bloc of votes.

Mills said Diack was soon determined as a lost cause in the 2012 bidding process, contested by London, Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow. The vote was held in Singapore in 2005.

"We identified Lamine Diack as a Paris bid supporter, so frankly spent very little time with him," Mills said. "Seb knew him through athletics but I certainly didn't have any conversations with him."

However, it is not known which way Diack voted in the secret ballot, which was narrowly won by London in a showdown with Paris.

The Guardian understands fresh information from the ongoing French and Brazilian investigations will only increase scrutiny on how voting has been conducted in the past.

Reedie, a former vice-president of the IOC and now the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said London was to his knowledge "a clean bid".

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline '2012 Games bid clean: London'. Print Edition | Subscribe