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IOC suspends Frank Fredericks over French corruption charges

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The International Olympic Committee suspended Frank Fredericks as a member on Tuesday, four days after he was charged in a French investigation of suspected bribery in the 2016 Olympic host city vote.

The IOC leadership intervened eight months after the four-time Olympic sprint medalist from Namibia stepped back from his duties when the allegations were reported in French media.

“Considering the gravity and urgency of the situation and its impact on the reputation of the IOC, the IOC (executive board) decides to suspend Mr. Frank Fredericks from all the rights, prerogatives and functions deriving from his quality as an IOC member,” the Olympic body said in a statement.

Fredericks was an IOC board member when he accepted a $300,000 payment eight years ago on the day Rio de Janeiro was chosen as the 2016 host.

The money allegedly came from a Brazilian businessman and was paid to Fredericks via the son of Lamine Diack, then a senior IOC member and president of track and field’s governing body. Both Diacks are under investigation by French prosecutors in a wide-ranging corruption case.

On Friday, prosecutors in Paris announced preliminary charges against Fredericks of passive corruption and money laundering.

Fredericks has denied wrongdoing since French daily Le Monde reported the allegation in March, claiming the money was for consultancy work in athletics.

The IOC ethics commission began investigating Fredericks, a rising star in Olympic circles, and examined the latest details on Monday.

“Mr. Fredericks mentioned that he did not wish to make any observations or provide a statement regarding the French proceedings,” the IOC ethics commission said in its published advisory ruling.

The ethics panel, which is chaired by former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon, said it did not take a position on “the value of the facts” in the case.

The case cost Fredericks his prestigious role leading an IOC panel overseeing bids by Paris and Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympics.

He also was provisionally suspended by the IAAF, where he was a member of its ruling committee and on a task force overseeing Russia’s attempt to lift an international ban from the sport because of a doping scandal.

In July, an IAAF integrity panel noted that “Fredericks has not, in the answers and explanations he has provided to date, disturbed the prima facie case of matters warranting investigation.”

The French investigation, in cooperation with Brazilian authorities, also implicated Carlos Nuzman, who led the Rio Olympic organizing team. Nuzman was arrested in Brazil last month and then suspended by the IOC as an honorary member.

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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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