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LONDON (AP) — Former Olympic sprinter Frankie Fredericks has turned himself over to the IOC ethics commission following a French newspaper report linking him to a payment from a man who has been banned for life from track and field for corruption.
The payment of $299,300 to an offshore company linked to Fredericks came in 2009 on the day that Rio de Janeiro was awarded hosting rights for the 2016 Olympics, French newspaper Le Monde reported Friday.
Fredericks, a Namibian sprinter who won silver medals in the 100 and 200 meters at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, is a member of the International Olympic Committee and currently the head of the evaluation commission for the 2024 Olympics.
"He informed the IOC and explained the situation and emphasized his innocence immediately upon being contacted by the journalist," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said in an email. "The IOC trusts that Mr. Fredericks will bring all the elements to prove his innocence against these allegations made by Le Monde."
According to the newspaper report, Matlock Capital Group paid $1.5 million to Pamodzi Consulting, a company founded by Papa Massata Diack, ahead of the 2016 Olympic hosting vote and transferred another $500,000 to Diack's Russian bank account. Diack is a former marketing director at the IAAF and son of the organization's former president, Lamine Diack.
Both Diacks are being investigated by French prosecutors on corruption charges linked to covering up Russian doping cases in a separate scandal. Papa Massata Diack was banned for life as part of that investigation.
Matlock Capital Group, the newspaper says, is a holding company linked to Brazilian businessman Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho.
Le Monde says Diack transferred $299,300 to Yemi Limited, the company linked to Fredericks, on Oct. 2, the same day Rio won a vote to host the 2016 Olympics and bring the games to South America for the first time.
"The IOC has taken note of the serious allegations ... regarding the vote to select the host city of the Olympic Games 2016," Adams said. "The IOC is 'Partie Civile' to the ongoing procedure initiated by the French Judicial authorities against former IAAF President Mr. Lamine Diack and his son Papa Massata Diack, the then marketing consultant of the IAAF. The IOC remains fully committed to clarifying this situation, working in cooperation with the prosecutor."
Mario Andrada, a spokesman for the Rio organizing committee, denied any link to alleged bribery.
"We ran a clean election, and all the documents, everything we had on the campaign are open to the public and to the French investigators," Andrada said, adding that French investigators had not contacted the committee.
The IOC said Fredericks, who had a marketing contract with Pamodzi Sports Consulting from 2007-11, had already turned himself over to the IAAF ethics commission as well.
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