LONDON • Veteran International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound has said French prosecutors should follow the trail of corruption "wherever it leads" after they confirmed an investigation into alleged seven-figure payments from the successful Tokyo 2020 Olympics bid to a secret account linked to Papa Massata Diack.
French prosecutors confirmed they were examining a string of potential offences including aggravated money laundering, corruption and bribery involving more than US$2 million (S$2.75 million) in suspicious payments. They were apparently made to a bank account linked to Diack, the son of disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations president Lamine Diack.
"We would not try and cut down the scope of the French investigation nor discourage them from where the trail led. At some point or other they have to decide whether they are ready to prosecute," said Pound.
Pound oversaw the review that followed the Salt Lake City bribery scandal in 1998, which led to the expulsion of several IOC members and the introduction of strict new bidding rules. He said he was convinced the IOC had the right structures in place to deal with corruption.
"I think the wrongdoing here will prove not to have been the IOC but other people. We're now getting on for 25 years since the Salt Lake thing and we've lived a pretty careful and transparent life since then," the World Anti-Doping Agency founder told The Guardian.
"I think most people have the feeling that we're doing our best. But if the bad guys nevertheless get involved in some corruption, we are the ones looking for it and we will impose the sanctions."
The IOC has said it now has civil party status in the French investigation and has been cooperating with prosecutors.