Wed, Jan 11, 2006 - Page 19 News List

Japan spent more than Salt Lake City on IOC, report finds

AP , SALT LAKE CITY

Japanese boosters lavished millions of dollars on delegates who granted the 1998 Winter Olympics to Nagano, according to a report ordered by the region's governor.

The report from the Nagano Prefecture Investigation Group said the Japanese city provided an "illegitimate and excessive level of hospitality" to members of the International Olympic Committee in vying for the bid.

Many Olympic insiders said Salt Lake City deserved to win that bid but couldn't match Nagano's gift-giving.

The 2002 Olympics went to Salt Lake City, which later dealt with a gift-giving scandal of its own. The two top leaders of Salt Lake's Olympic bid committee were indicted on bribery charges, but a US judge threw out the case, saying the government had failed to prove bid chief Tom Welch or deputy Dave Johnson had done anything illegal or wrong.

The Nagano report made Salt Lake's favors appear meager by comparison. For example, Nagano boosters left video cameras in hotel rooms as gifts for IOC members on the eve of the vote for the 1998 games; Salt Lake left disposable cameras.

In the next bid campaign, Salt Lake doled out more than US$1 million in cash, first-class travel, shopping sprees and gifts such as a Rolex watch, a shotgun and a hunting dog. But Nagano won its bid by spending US$4.4 million entertaining IOC members, another US$544,000 on unspecified souvenirs, plus US$776,000 that was unaccounted for, according to the report from Japan.

"That sounds high to me, but then some of my colleagues are higher maintenance than I am," Canadian IOC delegate Dick Pound, who led an investigation of the Salt Lake City scandal, told the Deseret Morning News for a story in Monday's edition.

The report put Nagano's total bid expenses at US$24 million, more than twice what Salt Lake City spent on two bid campaigns.

The report, ordered by Nagano Governor Yasuo Tanaka in February 2004, didn't name any boosters or itemize gifts offered to IOC members. Nagano burned most of its bid records after the Salt Lake scandal broke.

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