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Leaked Documents Show AIBA Comically Lied About $10m Loan From Azerbaijan

Leaked Documents Show AIBA Comically Lied About $10m Loan From Azerbaijan
By Gavan Casey

A New York Times investigation has shown that the International Boxing Association's president, Wu Ching-kuo, was indeed aware of a potentially incriminating $10m loan from Azerbaijan back in 2010.

Just days after AIBA released statements claiming Wu had little to no knowledge of the loan - instead pointing the finger at his now-fired former deputy - new documents (including letters and emails) show that Wu spoke directly to a government minister in Azerbaijan about obtaining the same loan. Comical stuff, once more, from an organisation which has threatened to become a parody of itself since Rio.

The $10m loan in question has led to such financial disarray that investigators recommended the group find a criminal lawyer. Investigators confirmed last week that they could not account for how over $4.5m was spent.

The loan was supposed to be retired in 2013, but the private Azeri company which loaned the money to AIBA has yet to be repaid. A confidential investigation done by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that much of the loan was missing and not properly accounted for on AIBA’s financial ledgers.

In total contrast to AIBA's statements last week, the New York Times reports that, in one letter from August 2010 (two months before the loan was secured), Wu wrote to Colonel General Kamaladdin Heydarov - a government minister and the president of the Boxing Federation of Azerbaijan. In this letter, Wu mentioned a meeting with General Heydarov in Baku a month prior, writing:

...we have been waiting to receive any feedback from your banker located in Switzerland to finalize the investment agreement as soon as we can.

In March 2010, Ho Kim, the executive director of AIBA, emailed Mr. Wu and said he met with General Heydarov, claiming the latter had agreed to approve the loan, but that he “wants to do a big favor to you which later he will ask for repay back.” Ho Kim added: “This is very obvious.”

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Since the loan was made, Azerbaijan has won nine major amateur boxing medals, including four golds at the three World Championships since. This is a significant improvement from the four total medals before that which included not a single gold.

AIBA recently stood down 36 judges from the Rio Olympics in light of allegations made by Irish boxer Michael Conlan, amongst others, that corruption had influenced boxing results at the Games.

For more, head to the New York Times, who are conducting this investigation.

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