10th April 2018

Papa Massata Diack denies PyeongChang 2018 corruption allegations

Papa Massata Diack has denied allegations that he was involved in compiling a list of International Olympic Committee (IOC) members that were likely to support PyeongChang’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics in exchange for marketing and sponsorship contracts with Korean company Samsung. Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) has alleged that Papa Diack, son of former President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Lamine Diack, compiled the list of 27 IOC Members, 12 of which originate from African countries.

‘Once again, I totally reject those fallacious allegations of supporting Olympic bids or vote buying schemes’, wrote Papa Diack (pictured) in an email, adding that he had passed copies of press articles and the SBS video to his lawyers. ‘My relationship with Samsung Electronics was professional and substantiated with formal contracts that have been accessible through the IAAF and Dentsu since March 2009’.

SBS alleges that Samsung’s sponsorship of the 2010 and 2011 African Junior Athletics Championships was part of the deal…

SBS alleges that Samsung’s sponsorship of the 2010 African Junior Athletics Championships, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya from 28 July to 1 August, was part of the deal, as was its sponsorship of the 2011 African Junior Championships in Gaborone, Botswana. It was alleged that Papa Diack was to receive up to US$12.5 million (€10.4 million) if these and other contracts were secured, as well as a bonus.

A September 2015 Marketing Report (PDF below) produced by Papa Diack appears to indicate that his company, PMD Consulting, may have had responsibility for securing sponsorship of such events. The document states that in 2010, the IAAF introduced the IAAF Continental Programme as part of a decentralisation policy, and PMD Consulting was appointed as the main coordinator of that policy. This involved the staging of ten events annually in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Africa, Oceania and Asia.

This appointment has previously been confirmed by the IAAF in response to questions about Papa Diack’s alleged soliciting to secure a representation contract for Stuttgart’s bid to host the 2006 IAAF Athletics World Cup. ‘Papa Massata Diack in his role as an IAAF Marketing Consultant had a responsibility to raise funds for the IAAF Continental Programme (Area Confederations) which was done through sponsorship’, read an IAAF statement emailed to Sky News.

The 2015 Marketing Report also states that on 14 March 2010, PMD Consulting secured the commercial mandate for all sponsorship sales relating to the IAAF World Athletics Series. This agreement apparently included a list of companies that Papa Diack would have the exclusive rights to approach, in the territories defined in an IAAF Consultancy Agreement.

The Report states that PMD Consulting was paid a daily rate of US$900 from 2007 until 2012, when it increased to US$1,200. PyeongChang was awarded the rights to host the 2018 Winter Olympics during July 2011, at the 123rd IOC Session in Durban. The Report also states that PMD Consulting received a 5% commission on all agreements brought in for the IAAF ‘which will have a direct impact on IAAF Finances (Diamond League, Continental Programme, Prize Money, etc.)’

Samsung is a member of The Olympic Partner (TOP) programme run by the IOC and whilst the regulations governing Olympic Partners are closely guarded, it is understood that they are required to remain neutral where Olympic bids are concerned. In 2010, the IOC Ethics Board banned Kun-Hee Lee, Chairman of Samsung and now an Honorary IOC Member, from being a member of any IOC Commission for five years, however the ban was overturned by the IOC Executive Board a month later.

In a 25 January 2010 decision (PDF below), the IOC found that Lee had ‘tarnished the reputation of the Olympic Movement’, as prohibited by Part B, Article 5 of the IOC Code of Ethics in force at the time. It suspended Lee’s right to be member of any IOC Commission for five years, and issued him with a reprimand. Yet less than a month later, his rights were restored by the IOC Executive Board.

It is understood that the IOC decided to rescind the ban after Lee was granted an amnesty by the President of the Korean Republic, after being sentenced to a suspended term of three years imprisonment and a fine of KRW110 billion (€83.4 million). On 14 August 2009, Lee was sentenced for tax evasion, a stock market offence and breach of trust, due to the illegal sale of shares in a Samsung Group company. He paid the fine, allowing him to become a key figure in PyeongChang’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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