Panorama triggers probe into IOC bribery

The International Olympic Committee has launched an investigation into allegations of bribery among its officials levelled by the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme, Panorama.

The BBC One programme, scheduled to air on 4 August, reported on a “cash for votes” operation uncovered at the IOC, in which it said at least one IOC member flouted rules on the selection process for the 2012 Games. The programme alleged that “professional agents” promised to secure the votes of some of the 124 voting members for a fee.

In an undercover operation that lasted up to a year, Panorama reporters posed as middlemen acting on behalf of clients with business interests in East London and who wished for the 2012 Games to be held in the capital. London is bidding against New York and Paris.

The BBC confirmed it was “in discussions” with the IOC as to what evidence the broadcaster could or could not provide to assist with body’s investigations, and was preparing to send a tape of the programme to the Committee as Press Gazette went to press.

The IOC confirmed it had asked its ethics commission to investigate “alleged inappropriate conduct within the Olympic Movement linked with the Games candidature process, which it had been made aware of by the media”.

Given that this investigation is currently underway and the IOC is not aware of the content of a television programme it understands is due to be broadcast, the IOC was “not in a position to provide any further comment on this matter at this stage”, it said.

By Wale Azeez

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