Bidders deny use of bribes

Olympic Games
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The Independent Online
Stockholm and Cape Town have denied that they had tried to bribe International Olympic Committee members in their respective bids to win the right to stage the 2004 summer games.

"We didn't try to bribe anyone," the Stockholm media director, Finn Persson, said of reports the Swedes had offered to buy furniture for visiting IOC members.

Thomas Bach, president of the evaluation commission which drew up a report on the original 11 bidding cities, said the executive board had sent letters to Stockholm and Cape Town reminding them of IOC rules.

The Cape Town Olympic bid media director, Ameen Akhalwaya, flatly denied offering to fly the 20 IOC African members' wives to Lausanne, where the host city will be elected on Friday. "We offered nobody nothing," he said. "I don't know how all this arose."

Persson said that when IOC members visited Stockholm they were taken round the Ikea factory and told they could be helped with transporting anything they bought. "We didn't offer to pay for the transport. We simply said we would put them in touch with a transporter," he said. "Somebody obviously misunderstood us and reported it."

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