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  • Helios Founder Unaware of Olympic Bid Inquiry


    02/01/18

    (ATR) The founder of the sports consulting firm Helios Partners says word that the U.S. Justice Department is combing records from the company “is news to me”.

    Terrence Burns was one of the founders of Helios Partners, along with Chris Welton, who once ran the company that serviced the worldwide partners of the IOC. The two started the Atlanta-based Helios Partners in 2004, eventually coming under the orbit of the Amaury Group in France in 2010.

    Burns and Welton left Helios in 2012 and the company dissolved two years later

    The New York Times reports that the DOJ is investigating the possibility that crimes were committed involving bids for recent events in the U.S. The newspaper reports a subpoena issued by a grand jury in New York specifically indicates an interest in the 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships awarded to Eugene, Oregon.

    The witnesses could begin giving testimony as early as next week, according to the newspaper. The grand jury is operating in the Eastern District of New York, based in Brooklyn. It’s the same office that’s been handling the prosecution of former FIFA kingpins on charges such as money laundering and currency violations.

    Burns, contacted by e-mail, expressed total surprise to hear that Helios Partners was named by the paper, the only name dropped in the entire article. Adding to Burns’ puzzlement is that the investigation is said to be looking at lobbying activities.

    “Helios never offered or provided lobbying services. Ever. We did branding, wrote bid books and write and managed presentations,” Burns tells ATR. While at Helios, Burns worked on bids from Doha for the Olympics and the successful campaigns for Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018. Most recently he was the marketing director for the Los Angeles Olympic bid.

    Burns says he has not received a subpoena and has not been contacted to testify.

    The inquiry is also said to involve the IOC and U.S. Olympic Committee. No immediate comment available from either organization.

    The IOC begins meetings Saturday in PyeongChang ahead of the Olympic Winter Games. The reported investigation may come up in the closed-door meetings of the Executive Board Feb. 3-4.

    The New York Times report differs from a December report by the Wall Street Journal that says the DOJ was investigating the circumstances of the bribery and corruption case involving the Rio De Janeiro bid for the 2016 Olympics.

    The WSJ reported that a subpoena had been issued for the reputed financier of the alleged Rio vote buying. The case has led to the arrest of former Rio bid and organizing committee leader Carlos Nuzman. The former IOC member and once president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee is under house arrest in Rio as he awaits legal developments.

    Reported by Ed Hula. For general comments or questions, click here.

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