PtG Article 07.07.2006

Another French IOC member in court on corruption charges

Only a week after the IOC Ethic’s Commission reprimanded the French IOC member Guy Drut for tarnishing the reputation of the Olympic Movement, the president of the French National Olympic Committee has also appeared in court on charges of corruption.

Henri Serandour is accused of having been too helpful to a company that had just hired his wife, former swimmer Catherine Poirot.

The communication company Pleyades was given two lucrative contracts by the French National Olympic Committee. One was to renovate the committee’s website and the other was to create a mural with photos of 600 French Olympic medalists.

According to Associated Press, the state prosecutor said that in both cases the jobs corresponded to ”the personal choices of Mr. Serandour.” In neither case was a contract signed or the work detailed, the prosecutor said.

Suspicion fell on Serandour after a report by the Court of Auditers critcised the financial practices within the French Olympic Committee.

Henri Serandour maintains his innonce and said in court that he would have chosen another agency than Pleyades if it had been better.

The proscutor was asking for a six-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 35,000 Euro at the court hearing last week. The verdict is set for 12 October.

If convicted, Serandour could be subjected to an inquiry from the IOC’s Ethics Commission. However, Serandour is 69 years old and must retire from the IOC when he turns 70, so the question of being suspended from the IOC may never arise.