PtG Article 07.07.2006

IOCs Ethics Commisssion punishes Drut despite French pardon

Guy Drut, a French IOC member, seriously tarnished the reputation of the Olympic Movement when he was convicted in a corruption case in his home country, says IOC’s Ethics Commission. Nevertheless, after intervention by French president Jacques Chirac, Guy Drut can now continue his work on the Olympic Committee.

In October 2005, the Paris Criminal Court imposed a suspended sentence of 15 months imprisonment on Guy Drut together with a fine of 50,000 Euros afer he was found guilty of benefiting from a fictitious job in a construction company in the beginning of the 1990s.

Guy Drut is a former sports minister and Olympic champion, and in November he informed the IOC’s Ethics Commission that he had requested an amnesty from the French President for ”having distinguished himself exceptionally within the field of sport.”

The amnesty was granted by Jacques Chirac at the end of May this year. According to Associated Press, the French president said that he made the decision because ”it will allow Guy Drut to be able to continue to hold his seat within the IOC, which is fully essential for France and the defense of its interests in the domain of sports.”

No acquital in the IOC

The amnesty has erased Guy Drut’s sentence in the French justice system, but that did not acquit him in the eyes of the IOC’s Ethics Commission. In its decision, the Commission stressed that whether or not the conduct of an Olympic party is ethical is wholly independent of its criminal nature.

The Ethics Commission arrived at the conclusion that Guy Drut by his conduct has ”seriously tarnished the reputation of the Olympic Movement, in the meaning of part B.5 of the IOC Code of Ethics.”

Part B.5 of the IOC Code of Ethics says that ” Olympic parties shall use due care and diligence in fulfilling their mission. They must not act in a manner likely to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement.”

The Ethics Commission decided that the appropriate punishment for Guy Drut was a reprimand and a suspension of the right to chair any IOC Commission for five years.

Chirac criticised for pardoning Drut

In France, President Jacques Chirac has been criticised for pardoning Guy Drut who is also a member of the French Parliament for Chirac’s ruling party.

Several politicans believe that the case smacks of cronyism and has given ammunition to those far-right politicians who have made corruption in the ruling elite one of their main political causes.

“I am effectively shocked by the president who acted is if he were the prince of a banana republic,” said a prominent member ot the Green Party, Noel Mamere, to France-Info radio.