IOC Members Bubka, Popov Deny Rio 2016 Olympic Bid Vote Buying Allegations As IOC Investigates

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has followed up Friday on accusations against two of its members who are alleged to have been among nine that sold their votes to support a Rio 2016 Olympic Games bid, and are investigating the sensational claims made in a Brazil court.

IOC Member Sergey Bubka addresses Session in Buenos Aires in 2013 during his Presidential run (Photo: sergeybubka.com)

IOC Member Sergey Bubka addresses Session in Buenos Aires in 2013 during his Presidential run (Photo: sergeybubka.com)

On Thursday former Rio de Janeiro governor Sérgio Cabral, who is currently serving 198 years in prison for corruption, implicated IOC Executive Board member and Olympic high jump champion Sergey Bubka and honorary IOC Member Alexander Popov in a $2 million vote buying scheme that took allegedly place in the months ahead of the October 2, 2009 election.

In a statement Friday, the IOC said its Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer has followed up, contacting both members Cabral named during a hearing at a Brazil federal court.

“The IOC is fully committed to address any issues, also those which happened before the far-reaching reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020.

“With these reforms the IOC has turned the page with regard to good governance and in particular the procedure of the election of host cities.”

Both men rejected claims that they received money funneled through then IAAF President Lamine Diack, his son Papa Massata Diack and bid Chief Carlos Nuzman, in exchange for first round votes when Rio competed against Madrid, Tokyo and Chicago to host the Games.  If Cabral’s claims are true, the votes could have saved Rio from a first-round elimination.

Both Lamine Diack and Nuzman have been charged with corruption by French prosecutors and are awaiting trial.

“I completely reject all the false claims made by the former Rio State governor,” Bubka, who ran for the IOC Presidency in 2013 Tweeted Friday.

“My lawyers will write to Mr. Diack to ask him to explain the allegations of Mr. Cabral who wrongly claims in his testimony that Mr. Diack could secure my vote.”

Prominent IOC Members Implicated In $2 Million Rio 2016 Olympic Bid Vote Buying Scheme

Popov, an IOC member from 2000 to 2016, also denied the accusations, and both Olympians have threatened legal action for defamation and are said to be cooperating with the IOC Ethics Commission.

Investigations around suspicious payments made surrounding Rio’s election to host the 2016 Olympics have been ongoing, and in 2017 IOC Member Frank Fredericks was suspended after it was revealed he accepted a payment on the day of the vote that he has claimed is unrelated to the bid.

Cabral revealed for the first time at Thursday’s hearing that he paid $1.5 million to guarantee five-to-six votes, then later spent an additional $500,000 a month before the vote to bring the total to nine.  He hopes his cooperation with officials will lead to a reduced sentence.

Robert Livingstone

About Robert Livingstone

Robert Livingstone is a senior editor, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. He is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians. Follow him @enotsgnivil