Olympic sponsorship tensions reignite


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The Independent Online

A former London 2012 ethics commissioner who resigned in protest after a decision to accept sponsorship from the chemical multinational Dow, which now owns the company responsible for the Bhopal disaster in India, reignited the row this weekend, accusing a senior Olympic official of misrepresenting her.

Meredith Alexander, a former member of the Commission for a Sustainable London, an independent body that monitors the work of the London 2012 Olympics organising committee (Locog), claimed the executive had told the media she agreed with the Dow sponsorship deal.

Locog has been criticised for awarding a £7m sponsored fabric wrap around the outside of the east London Olympic stadium to Dow, the owner of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), which was responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster which killed 25,000 people. Dow denies it is responsible for any of UCC's liabilities in Bhopal.

Paul Deighton, the head of Locog, said: "She is one of 12 commissioners and the commission signed off on the process."

"That is not true," said Ms Alexander. "I resigned because I did not and would never have signed that deal off. In Davos, Boris [Johnson] told the press how he hoped I would reconsider. In London, his office point blank refused to talk to me.

"I had planned to resign and simply walk away... but I now feel there is more I need to do. I would like to issue a public challenge to Locog, the Mayor, and most importantly the company, to meet myself and representatives of the victims."

A Locog spokesman said: "Meredith has misrepresented Paul's remarks. It is clear that Paul's comments related to the procurement process [rather than the award to Dow] which the commission validated."