Samaranch confident of avoiding FBI questioning

International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch is confident that he will not be grilled by FBI investigators when he travels to Washington next week to testify before Congress about the organization's reform efforts.

International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch is confident that he will not be grilled by FBI investigators when he travels to Washington next week to testify before Congress about the organization's reform efforts.

Samaranch has apparently received assurances that, for the time being, he will not be questioned or served with a subpoena in the Justice Department's investigation of the Salt ake City bribery scandal.

"If he's going to Washington, that means he's confident there is no problem - at this stage," IOC director general Francois Carrard said today, declining to give further details.

Samaranch, who is due to appear in Congress next Wednesday, said earlier this week that he doesn't expect to be approached by the FBI now.

"If the FBI wants to meet with me, I am ready, but not on this occasion," he said, adding that he has to travel to Spain for a meeting the day after the Congressional hearing.

Samaranch will appear before the House Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. The panel, chaired by Michigan Republican Fred Upton, wants to hear from Samaranch about the corruption scandal that has rocked the Olympic movement.

Samaranch declined requests to testify before Congress earlier this year. He agreed to go to Washington only after this weekend's IOC general assembly, where members will vote on a package of reforms designed to restructure the IOC and prevent any further abuses.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, is still investigating the more than $1.2 million in cash, gifts, scholarships and other inducements offered to IOC members and their families during Salt Lake's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games.

Carrard said a handful of IOC members have already been "interviewed" by FBI agents in connection with the probe.

"The IOC has always said it will cooperate with the Department of Justice investigation," he said. "Some members have been interviewed and things are going smoothly."

But others are concerned that they, too, will face questioning if they enter the United States.

"Some individual members have expressed questions about the process," Carrard said. "They don't know what a subpoena is. They have to look it up in the dictionary. They think it's something out of a 'B' movie. They imagine 'The Untouchables' coming with subpoenas and machine guns."

In June, during the IOC session in Seoul, South Korea, the IOC advised its members they could face questioning or subpoenas and offered to provide legal assistance to any delegates traveling to the United States.

Asked then whether he was worried about being questioned himself, Samaranch said: "No. If I am interviewed, there will be an interview. It is no problem for me."

The Justice Department investigation has led to charges against two people so far.

Utah businessman David Simmons pleaded guilty Aug. 3 to a federal misdemeanor tax charge. He said he helped create a sham job for John Kim, son of powerful South Korean IOC executive board member Kim Un-Yong, with the understanding that the Salt Lake bid committee would pay the son's salary and then deduct the salary from his taxes.

John Kim was indicted in September on federal charges that he lied to investigators and entered the United States with a fraudulently obtained green card.

John Kim has denied any wrongdoing and said he was unaware of the salary arrangements between Salt Lake and Simmons' company, Keystone Communications. Kim's father has said any deal between Simmons and the bid committee was kept secret from his family.

Last March, the IOC gave the elder Kim a "severe warning" for his conduct but stopped short of expelling him.

Asked Wednesday whether Kim's status was under review as a result of his son's indictment, Carrard said, "There are no new facts as far as we are concerned. It would be a matter for the (IOC) ethics commission."

With the FBI investigation still ongoing, the IOC is considering calling off scheduled executive board meetings in February in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Salt Lake City.

Samaranch said the meetings could be switched to Sydney, Australia, which will stage the 2000 Summer Games next September.

While an announcement had been expected this week, Carrard said the executive board would wait until early January to make a final decision.

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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones