New corruption allegations surrounding Pyeongchang’s successful bid for this year’s Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have surfaced in claims that technology giants Samsung led a secret campaign to offer incentives in return for votes.
South Korean Broadcaster SBS have reported that an investigation into former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak uncovered a list of 27 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members who were considered likely to support Pyeongchang’s bid in return for marketing contracts and sponsorship agreements.
The list was reportedly compiled in conjunction with Papa Massata Diack, the scandal-tainted son of former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President, Lamine, who has already been handed a life ban from athletics for corruption and accused of wrongdoing in two other Olympic bidding contests.
Samsung, as a member of the IOC’s flagship TOP sponsorship scheme, must remain neutral under Olympic rules even if there is a South Korean bid.
An IOC spokesperson has only responded to the allegation about the Diacks, saying they will “add it” to Lamine’s file in the Ethics Commission, rather than focusing on the wider question about the integrity of the Olympic bidding process.
Samsung chief Lee Kun-hee, an IOC member until last year, had been found guilty of bribery charges in South Korea in 2008 before being controversially pardoned the following year in what many people saw as a means to ensure his involvement in the Pyeongchang 2018 bid.
The IOC Ethics Commission concluded that Lee had “tarnished the reputation of the Olympic Movement” but allowed him to return in the middle of Pyeongchang’s successful campaign.
Pyeongchang was awarded the 2018 Games after defeating Munich in Germany and Annecy in France at the 2011 IOC Session in Durban.
Thomas Bach, elected IOC President in 2013, had led the bid from Munich 2018.