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IOC ethics panel clears top official

Kevan Gosper has been found innocent of knowingly taking gifts.

(Keystone)

A vice-president of the Swiss-based International Olympic Committee, Kevan Gosper, has been cleared of violating guidelines by accepting gifts.

The IOC's ethics commission on Monday said it would propose to the organisation's executive board that Gosper and his wife be cleared of any wrongdoing.

He had been questioned by the commission about a ski holiday with his family in the American state of Utah in 1993, a trip arranged by the Salt Lake City committee bidding for the Winter Olympics.

Gosper's official trip to the city in 1995 was also investigated.

"After reviewing the relevant evidence, I decided that Mr and Mrs Gosper's accounts of what transpired in 1993 and 1995 were truthful and were confirmed by documentary evidence," the ethic panel's investigator, Martin Lipton, said in his report.

"I found that there is no basis to conclude that the Gospers either knowingly or negligently violated IOC rules," he added.

"My conclusion is to fully exonerate Mr Gosper," Lipton concluded at a news conference at the IOC headquarters in the city of Lausanne.

The records from the Salt Lake City bid committee showed it filed for expenses of $11,000 for the Gosper family's skiing trip. But Gosper provided evidence that he had written a cheque for $1,650, which he said he understood to be the cost of the accomodation.

It appears that the bid committee quietly paid part of the costs.

Gosper, the senior Australian IOC official, said he was "hugely relieved" by the ethic panel's recommendation.

Gosper has also come under fire for allowing his 11 year-old daughter replace an Australian schoolgirl as the first Australian to carry the Olympic flame, after it had been lit in Greece last week to be carried to the location of this year's summer games, Sydney.

swissinfo with agencies

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