Sat, Dec 27, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Olympic Committee vice chairman turns himself in for probe

AFP , SEOUL

International Olympic Comm- ittee (IOC) vice president Kim Un-yong voluntarily turned himself over to prosecutors for questioning in Seoul yesterday following corruption alleg-ations, officials said.

Kim, one of South Korea's most influential sports leaders, presented a written statement to the Seoul district prosecutors office before being turned away to be summoned at a later date, they said.

"He returned home because he has yet to be officially summoned," a prosecution source said.

"Prosecutors later issued a summons for Kim, who was asked to appear at the office by 10:00am on December 29," the source added.

The 72-year-old IOC official denied Monday that he was involved in corruption after pro-secutors arrested a former sports official accused of bribing him.

In a statement to the public, Kim said he was ready for investigation by prosecutors and denounced local media reports which described him as "a corrupt figure."

Last week, prosecutors arrested Lee Kwang-tae, a former Korea Olympic Committee (KOC) member who was in office from November 2000 to July last year, for alleged corruption.

Prosecutors refused to confirm Lee's charges, but Yonhap news agency said Lee is suspected of providing 100 million won (US$84,170) to Kim to help win his KOC membership.

The arrest came after investigators raided Kim's home and office and seized a safe and documents.

Kim, also head of the World Taekwondo Federation, was one of several IOC members implicated in a corruption investigation surrounding last year's Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Kim's 40-year-old son, John Kim, was freed by a court in Bulgaria early this month after US authorities dropped their extradition demand on graft charges related to the Salt Lake City Olympics.

The son was arrested in Sofia six months ago on an Interpol warrant issued by the US Justice Department investigating allegations that he was helped by the creation of a phoney job to gain a green card that allowed him to work and live in the US.

The case unravelled earlier this month when a US court cleared Salt Lake City Olympic bid leaders Tom Welch and Dave Johnson of bribing IOC members by offering them free gifts, study grants and employment to family members.

Kim was also under fire at home for allegedly putting personal ambition ahead of South Korea's bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics at the winter sports center of Pyeongchang.

Pyeongchang lost the right to stage the Olympics to Vancouver in a close race in July, sparking criticism that Kim lobbied against his own country to boost his chances of election as an IOC vice president.

Kim rejected the charges and filed damage suits against Pyeongchang bid committee officials and others.

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