Olympic Games: Salt Lake Games loses pounds 20m sponsor

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THE 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City has lost its first major sponsor as a direct result of the corruption scandal surrounding bidding for the Games.

The New Jersey-based healthcare products group, Johnson & Johnson has withdrawn its pounds 20m support for the event. John McKeegan, a spokesman for the company, said: "It was always going to be in the back of people's minds."

Salt Lake Organising Committee officials remain confident that they will raise the pounds 200m still needed to meet the cost of hosting the Games, which is thought to be about pounds 1bn.

A spokesman said: "We are in negotiation with about 25 companies and have found they are still very receptive to pursuing sponsorships."

Investigations revealed that the city's bid committee offered almost pounds 1m in bribes to International Olympic Committee members to help acquire the Games. A total of 10 IOC members have been expelled or have resigned after being linked to cash payments or other vote-buying inducements.