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  • S. Korean Avoids Olympics Ethics Trouble


    12/07/05

    Young Sung Park keeps his IOC seat for now, even with pending criminal charges in Seoul. (ATR) 
    (ATR) For the time being, South Korea's Yong Sung Park will be spared a possible suspension or other sanctions that would affect his membership on the International Olympic Committee, Around the Rings is told, despite an indictment on corruption charges.

    Citing the confidentiality of its investigations, neither the IOC nor the Ethics Commission will comment. But sources in Europe and Asia tell ATR that Park has been informed by Lausanne that his seat is safe for now. Park has not responded to queries for comment.

    Around the Rings understands that the IOC Ethics Commission will wait until the legal process is over for Park, whether the end of a trial and subsequent appeals or a plea bargain is struck.

    Park, 65, and three of his brothers, were charged last month ago with operating a slush fund at their family-run company, South Korea's 10th-largest. Prosecutors allege the brothers funneled as much as $31 million into their personal accounts. The Parks may face tax charges, too.

    Park's status as an IOC member and president of the International Judo Federation is believed to be a significant factor in the decision of Korean prosecutors not to jail him pending trial, given the damage it might cause PyeongChang's bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

    Upon his indictment, Park did resign as chairman of the Doosan Group and the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This week he attended meetings in Paris of the International Chamber of Commerce, for which he remains chairman.

    Supporters of former IOC member Un Yong Kim are looking askance at Park's situation, claiming a double standard is at work with the Ethics Commission.

    Kim was suspended from his IOC seat even before being arrested on corruption charges in early 2004. The charges grew out of Kim's leadership of the World Taekwando Federation and the Korean Olympic Committee. Kim, at one time Korea's most influential sports leader, resigned in May this year, avoiding a near-certain expulsion vote that would have been taken at the July IOC Session in Singapore.

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