2012 London Gold Medals 'Sold' for $10M: BBC

The money is just an 'investment,' say officials
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 23, 2011 1:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – A boxing official made arrangements to "sell" two 2012 Olympic gold medals to the Azerbaijani team for $10 million, according to an investigation by the BBC. Millions of dollars in secret payments have already been made to international boxing organization World Series Boxing, sources say. In exchange, the head of the group promised that the Azerbaijani fighters would win two boxing gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics, according to sources. Lawyers have called the charges "preposterous and utterly untrue," even though the International Amateur Boxing Association, which runs the WSB, admits that an Azerbaijani foreign minister has paid $9 million to one of its competitions as an "investment."

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The judging for the boxing tournament is overseen by AIBA, which has been the subject of controversy in the past. WSB America was having financial problems, but WSB chief Ivan Khodabakhsh "boasted to a few of us that there was no need to worry about World Series Boxing having the coin to pay its bills. As long as the Azeris got their medals, WSB would have the cash," said a source. "He was talking about gold medals in London in return for millions of dollars of secret payments," said the insider. "Medals are being sold so blatantly it's amazing." AIBA has vowed to launch an investigation. Boxing's world championships—an Olympic qualifying competition—begins this week in the capital of Azerbaijan. It was moved from an earlier choice of Busan in South Korea. (Read more 2012 London Olympics stories.)

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