IOC To Investigate PyeongChang 2018

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ethics commission is to look into whether two sponsorship deals of South Korean companies with international sports federations met Olympic rules.

Earth Times reports the German Press Agency dpa heard about the investigation at recent meetings in Acapulco.

The ethics commission must determine whether these contracts would give PyeongChang 2018 an advantage over the other two 2018 Winter bid cities, Munich and Annecy. Earth Times reports sanctions could include a reprimand or a warning.

According to Earth Times, the world governing rowing body FISA announced Monday a sponsorship deal with Samsung Electronics, one of 11 official top sponsors of the IOC. According to IOC rules top sponsors cannot be engaged in an Olympic bid.

Lee Kun Hee, a former Samsung Group Chairman and now Samsung Electronics chairman, was part of the PyeongChang bid presentation at the Acapulco meetings. He received a presidential pardon in December 2009 from a suspended jail sentence for tax evasion, allegedly to help the Olympic bid.

Lee returned to Samsung in March 2010 and was reinstated as an IOC member after the pardon.

FISA president Denis Oswald is also an IOC member. Oswald said he did nothing wrong. He reportedly said talks between the FISA and Samsung started three years ago and that a federation should not be punished because its president is an IOC member.

Earth Times reports the IOC is also looking into a recently announced two-year contract Korean Air signed with the skating body ISU as a short track World Cup sponsor. Short track is very popular in South Korea and its athletes are among the most successful in the sport.

PyeongChang 2018’s head Cho Yang Ho is CEO and chairman of Korean Air, and the airline is also an official bid sponsor. ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta is an IOC member.

The host city for the 2018 Winter Games will be elected in July 2011.