Defence claims racial motive in Lee bribery trial

A defence lawyer in the trial of two top boxing officials accused of taking bribes, has claimed the men were the victims of a racially motivated government probe that gave a "free pass" to the white promoters who testified against them.

A defence lawyer in the trial of two top boxing officials accused of taking bribes, has claimed the men were the victims of a racially motivated government probe that gave a "free pass" to the white promoters who testified against them.

"Race is an issue in this case," defence attorney Gerald Krovatin told the jury during closing arguments at the federal racketeering trial of Robert Lee Snr, the president of the International Boxing Federation and his son, Robert Lee Jnr. "We're in a situation where some people have gotten a free pass and two people, a man and his son, sit at that [defence] table," he said. "And I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, that's not fair, that's not right. Is race a factor? I submit that it is."

The two Lees and two other former IBF officials are named in a 32-count indictment charging them with taking $338,000 (£215,000) in bribes between 1985 and 1989. All have denied the charges.

Wiping away tears as Lee Snr's wife sobbed in a US District Court, Krovatin told the jury that Lee Snr was a "quiet, reserved and dignified man", who had dedicated 17 years to the IBF, one of boxing's major organisations.

The portrait contrasted sharply with the government's portrayal of Lee as a greedy manipulator who held out his hand for cash in hotel rooms and penalised deserving boxers who refused to pay for hisinfluence.

Using an oversized chart and videos secretly taped by FBI agents, the assistant US attorney, Marc Agnifilo, described a web of intrigue and clandestine meetings in Manhattan hotel rooms and coffee shops where money changed hands. Payments were coded as "turkey".

Krovatin countered that Lee "gave 824 men a chance to do something they loved - the chance to fight." The attorney called the alleged bribes "gratuities" that Lee "was entitled to and which are not unlawful".

The payments included one for $100,000 (£660,000) made by the promoter Bob Arum, the head of the Nevada-based Top Rank Inc, to let the heavyweight champion George Foreman defend his title against Axel Schulz. The money was paid in addition to a $150,000 sanctioning fee.

Promoters Cedric Kushner and Dino Duva also testified they had paid Lee for favours, and the government alleged that another promoter, Don King, made regular payments.

If convicted, Lee Snr faces a maximum 20 years imprisonment on charges of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and money laundering and fines of up to $1m.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most