PtG Article 13.10.2006

French IOC president convicted of corruption

The president of the French Olympic Committee has been found guilty of corruption charges and has received a suspended sentence of three months in jail. Henri Serandour was accused of giving two lucrative jobs from the national Olympic Committee to a communication company that employs his wife.

A court in Paris found Serandour guilty of giving contracts for the renovation of the committee’s website and the creation of a mural with photos of 600 French Olympic medalists to the company Pleyades without giving due consideration to other bids.

Serandour’s lawyer says to Associated Press that Henri Serandour never had the intention of taking advantage of anything and that he will be appealing the verdict.

Serandour’s case might never reach Ethics Commisssion

Serandour’s conviction is the second within a year to French members of the IOC. Last year Guy Drut was sentenced to a 15 month suspended jail term and a 50,000 Euro fine for holding a fictitious post with a construction company.

The IOC’s Ethics Commission later found Drut guilty of tarnishing the reputation of the Olympic movement and decided that he could not chair an IOC commission for the next five years.

In principle, the IOC’s Ethics Commission should also look at the case of Serandour. But a practice has developed in the IOC of waiting until all appeals in the legal systems are exhausted before ruling on such matters. It is unlikely that an appeals court could rule on Serandour’s case before he turns 70 next year and faces mandatory retirement, so the Ethics Commission might not get to decide on the case at all.

Park judgement delayed

Meanwhile IOC’s Ethics Commission has delayed its final judgement on the suspended member from Korea, Park Yong-sung.

Park Yong-sung was given a three year suspended jail sentence and a fine equivalent to 8 million US dollars for embezzling millions of dollars from the company he was chairman of in Korea. 

Yonhap News Agency in Korea reports that the IOC has decided to delay judgement until March 2007 after appeals from Park.

See earlier Play the Game article:

Another French IOC member in court on corruption charges