Federal prosecutors want IBF monitored

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The Independent Online

Federal prosecutors filed charges today against the IBF and requested a court-appointed monitor for what they contend is a corrupt boxing organization.

Federal prosecutors filed charges today against the IBF and requested a court-appointed monitor for what they contend is a corrupt boxing organization.

The civil racketeering lawsuit against one of the sport's governing bodies came nearly three weeks after prosecutors indicted IBF president Robert Lee Sr on criminal bribery charges.

If approved by a federal judge, the monitorship appears to be the first imposed on a sports organization, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Newark, which is prosecuting the IBF and Lee cases.

Prosecutors often use monitors when dealing with corrupt organizations, mostly labor unions.

Messages left with lawyers for the IBF and Lee were not immediately returned.

Lee and others in the IBF were indicted on charges they solicited $338,000 in bribes the past 13 years to fix IBF rankings. They have pleaded innocent, and their trial could start as early as 11 January.

Prosecutors last week asked Judge John Bissell of US District Court to freeze IBF bank accounts, a motion the judge said he would consider 29 November.

The IBF has been under a cloud much of the year since word got out of the federal grand jury investigation that led to the 32-count indictment against Lee.

That investigation began even before a New York state investigation of the judging in the March fight between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, which ended in a draw but was widely believed to have been won by Lewis.

IBF-appointed American judge Eugenia Williams scored it for Holyfield. WBC judge Larry O'Connell of Britain called it a draw. WBA judge Stanley Christodoulou of South Africa scored it for Lewis.

The racketeering indictment, unsealed 4 November, charged Lee, 65; his son Robert Lee Jr, 38, the liaison to the IBF president; former Virginia state boxing commissioner Donald William Brennan, 86, a past president of the US Boxing Association, a group that became the IBF; and Francisco Fernandez of Colombia, the South American representative of the IBF. Fernandez remains at large.

The indictment said seven promoters and managers were involved, as well as 23 boxers. They have not been charged, and the indictment refers to them only by number. The investigation is continuing.

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