PtG Article 23.02.2007

Suspended IOC member Park Yong-sung got amnesty in fraud case

On 9 February 2007, the suspended IOC member Park Yong-sung was given an amnesty for his fraud conviction by South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun. A few days later, Park was welcoming the IOC bidding committee that came to assess Pyeongchang as host for the Winter Games in 2014, even though the judo president is still suspended from the IOC.

A year ago Park was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years, and a fine of eight billion Won (approximately eight million US dollars) for embezzling funds from the Doosan Group of which he was the chairman.

In March last year, the IOC’s Ethics Commission provisionally suspended Park from the IOC because he had breached the part of the IOC Code of Ethics which state that ”the Olympic parties perform their mission diligently and refrain from conduct likely to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic movement.”

Six months later, Park’s case was up in front of the IOC Ethics Commission again. This time Park asked the Commission not to make any final decision on his case before the end of February 2007 where he would know if he had received an amnesty from the South Korean president.

The Ethics Commission complied with the request because the commission wanted to be ”fully informed” before making its final ruling. But the commission also reminded Park that even if his acts were pardoned in the criminal sense, they ”may nevertheless be ethically reprehensible.”

How the IOC will interpret Park’s brush with the law in South Korea will be very interesting. In South Korea it seems to be a foregone conclusion that after the amnesty Park will be reinstated as a full member of the IOC.  An official from Park’s company Doosan told The Korea Times that Park may get his membership back within a month.

”We have already sent a letter to the IOC but it will take as long as a month for  them to deal with the matter,” the official said to The Korea Times.

Park himself told The Korea Herald that he was grateful for the pardon.

”I wish to be active again on the international sports scene, if the IOC decides to rescind the suspension,” Park said.

Park is already on duty for international sport as he attended a dinner for the IOC delegation that came to assess Pyeongchang as host for the Winter Games in 2014, and the South Korean media has great expectations that Park will throw his weight and influence behind the bid.

The IOC Ethics Commission will finish its inquiry into the Park’s case on 15 March and make a recommendation to the IOC’s Executive Board shortly after.