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Frank Fredericks provisionally suspended in Olympic vote investigation

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MONACO (AP) — Four-time Olympic medalist Frank Fredericks has been suspended from duty by track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, while he is investigated for alleged corruption suspected of being linked to the 2016 Olympics hosting vote.

The independent Athletics Integrity Unit said Monday that its request for an interim ban on Fredericks, a former sprinter from Namibia, was granted by the IAAF disciplinary panel.

Fredericks, who is also an International Olympic Committee member, is separately being investigated by the IOC ethics commission over a near-$300,000 payment he received on Oct. 2, 2009 — the same day Rio de Janeiro won the 2016 Olympic hosting vote in a four-city contest.

French daily Le Monde alleged in March that the payment came from a Brazilian businessman and was channeled through a sports marketing company created by Papa Massata Diack, the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack. Both Diacks are implicated by French prosecutors in a corruption case that includes extorting money from athletes to cover up doping.

Fredericks denies wrongdoing, claiming the money was for contracted consultancy work. He previously offered to step aside from his IOC work and his IAAF duties except his seat on the ruling Council.

“I am not prepared to voluntarily consent not to undertake my duties in respect of the position I hold as IAAF Council Member,” Fredericks wrote to the disciplinary panel.

However, he did agree to avoid attending a meeting in London next month on the sidelines of the Aug. 4-13 world championships.

Fredericks plans to contest the suspension at a hearing, the integrity unit says.

In its published interim ruling, the IAAF disciplinary panel said Fredericks had the presumption of innocence while under investigation.

Still, the panel chairman noted that “Fredericks has not, in the answers and explanations he has provided to date, disturbed the prima facie case of matters warranting investigation.”

Those matters include “whether there was any connection between the Payment and the IOC vote to award the 2016 summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro,” the IAAF panel said.

Fredericks was seen as a rising star in Olympic circles until the case was reported. He had to resign as chairman of the IOC panel evaluating the bids of Los Angeles and Paris to host the 2024 Olympics, and agreed not to take part in that hosting decision due in September.

The 49-year-old official won silver medals in 100 and 200 meters at both the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

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Frank Fredericks leaves 2024 Olympic bid role, waives vote

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GENEVA (AP) — IOC member Frank Fredericks has stepped down from his role overseeing the 2024 Olympic bidding process after a $300,000 payment from a banned track official was revealed.

“Paris and Los Angeles are presenting two fantastic candidatures, and I do not wish to become a distraction,” the four-time Olympic silver medalist from Namibia said Tuesday in a statement.

Stepping aside as IOC evaluation chairman was “in the best interests” of the bidding process, the former sprinter said.

Fredericks, who won his Olympic medals in the 1990s, would have led an April 23-25 visit to Los Angeles. Paris will be evaluated by an IOC team on May 14-16.

“(I)t is essential that the important work my colleagues are doing is seen as being carried out in a truthful and fair manner,” Fredericks said, adding he will waive his right to vote in the September hosting contest.

Fredericks also will not take part in July meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland, that are a key stage in the voting contest. IOC members will hear from city campaign leaders and about the evaluation visits.

Fredericks has denied wrongdoing after his integrity — and the 2016 Olympic hosting vote — was questioned by French daily Le Monde last Friday.

Fredericks previously said he contacted the IOC Ethics Commission ahead of Le Monde revealing that a company linked to him was paid $299,300 on Oct. 2, 2009, the day Rio de Janeiro won 2016 Olympic hosting rights.

The money was transferred by Papa Massata Diack, the son of Lamine Diack, a disgraced former IAAF president and former long-time IOC member.

The elder Diack is in France where state prosecutors are investigating alleged corruption in the IAAF. His son, who has been banned for life by the IAAF, is evading questioning and thought to be in his native Senegal.

Le Monde reported that Papa Massata Diack’s marketing company received $1.5 million from a Brazilian businessman days before Rio’s victory in a four-city contest. Fredericks, a senior IAAF official, has said he had a marketing contract with Papa Massata Diack’s agency, Pamodzi Sports Consulting, from 2007-11.

“I reiterate that I was never involved with any vote manipulation or for that matter any other inappropriate or illegal practice,” said Fredericks, who joined the IOC in 2004 as an athlete representative and was a member of the IOC executive board at the time of the Rio vote.

“The articles do not only target me, they target the integrity of the International Olympic Committee bidding and elections process for host cities altogether,” he said. “This is why I have been and am still actively cooperating with the IOC Ethics Commission in order for them to conduct a proper and independent investigation.”

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IOC looks into report of Brazilian-linked payment before 2016 Olympic host city vote

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LONDON (AP) — Former Olympic sprinter Frankie Fredericks 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 100m and 200m 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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