Yoav Bruck, a former swimmer for Israel who is among 27 people who face an International Olympic Committee (IOC) investigation into an alleged breach of strict regulations on the sale of London 2012 tickets, has denied any wrongdoing.
Authorised to sell tickets in Israel and Cyprus, Bruck is among those accused in a Sunday Times Insight report: his part on the tale, the British paper claims, was to offer to sell reporters 525 top seats for £66,000.
Allegations are also made against Greece's Spyros Capralos, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Nicole Hoevertsz, the secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Aruba, Greg Harney, the director of international business for Cartan Tours and formerly a senior executive at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and Djordje Visacki, a former rower and now now the secretary general of the Serbian Olympic Committee.
Bruck, 40, competed at three Olympics, finishing 32nd in the 50m freestyle (23.72) and 31st in the 100m freestyle (51.46) in Barcelona in 1992. In response to the allegations, he told Israeli television: "The report is full of lies, lies and fabrications. I contend that we are clean and do not sell anything that we are not allowed."
The IOC has launched an investigation into the affair after the Sunday Times claimed that 27 officials and agents, representing 54 countries, were prepared to breach strict regulations on ticket sales for London 2012.
The Sunday Times has been asked to pass its evidence to the IOC, where a top official, Denis Oswald, the head of the London 2012 Coordination Commission, has already declared that any official found guilty of selling tickets on the black market should be banned from the Olympic Movement. "These people should no longer belong to the Olympic Movement," said Oswald.
Among those accused are Greece's Spyros Capralos, the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, caught on camera boasting how had "pulled strings" with Lord Coe, London 2012 chairman, to make sure that Greece got more than its allocation of tickets for the Games, which could then be sold on for profit.
Capralos, a former water polo player who competed for Greece at the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, said the allegations were "untrue and misleading".
The chairman of the Athens Exchange and chief executive of the Hellenic Exchanges Group, Capralos issued a statement through the Hellenic Olympic Committee that read: "The whole process was totally transparent and in accordance with the laws of the Greek State. Therefore, there can be no issue on creating a 'black market' by the HOC which did not buy any tickets, whatsoever. The journalists of the Sunday Times violated all principles of journalistic ethics, pretended to be representatives of a ticket selling company and had even created a fake webpage."
While questions may be raised about the way in which a reporter may have unearthed wrongdoing, the wrongdoing alleged is by far the bigger issue. Capralos will now have to convince the IOC inquiry into the affair.
Nicole Hoevertsz, the secretary general of the National Olympic Committee of Aruba, is the only IOC member among those accused after allegedly directing Sunday Times undercover reporters to Greg Harney, the director of international business for Cartan Tours, an authorised ticket reseller for 40 countries.
Harney, formerly a senior executive at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), allegedly told the Sunday Times how to conceal an illegal ticket sale.
Djordje Visacki, a former rower who competed at the Sydney 2000 and is now the secretary general of the Serbian Olympic Committee, is also accused: he allegedly offered to sell the undercover reporters 1,500 tickets for £80,000 in cash.
Oswald, a Swiss lawyer and the President of the World Rowing Federation, FISA, took part in an emergency IOC meeting via conference call last night and said: "We will ask for the documents and the tapes, whatever is existing from the Sunday Times. If this is confirmed then sanctions must be taken. For me [banning them from distributing tickets in the future] would not be enough.
"These people should no longer belong to the Olympic Movement. People were aware they were breaking the rules. It is why it is very serious, especially people in situations where they have responsibilities for their own national sport and are prepared to break the rules. There are probably differences between the different cases and you cannot treat everybody the same.
"But, depending on the result of the inquiry, there could be a sanction that people are no longer accepted in the Olympic Movement and therefore they should have no link with sport in their own country."
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