IOC to investigate bribery claims

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ZURICH, November 30- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday that it would examine any evidence of corruption, after one of its members was named in a BBC report targeting three FIFA officials.
"The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities," the Lausanne-based body said in a statement.

"The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC Ethics Commission," the world’s top sports body added.

A report by the BBC programme late Monday alleged that three members of world football governing body FIFA’s executive committee – Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil, African football chief Issa Hayatou and South America’s Nicolas Leoz – received secret payments from a sports marketing firm more than a decade ago.

All three are due to take part in the vote to designate the hosts of football’s World Cup in 2018 and 2012 on Thursday, after being wooed by a brace of world leaders and stars from the nine bidding nations.

Hayatou is also a member of the IOC, which oversees the Olympic Games, although he was not specifically named by the IOC.

Asked which of the three the statement referred to, an IOC spokeswoman said: "As for any case, the IOC ethics commission will look at all the information it receives."

The IOC’s move contrasted with the stance of world football’s governing body FIFA.

It said on Tuesday that it considered the investigations related to the collapse of sports and TV rights marketing firm ISMM/ISL in 2001 to be over.

"The investigation and the case are definitely closed," FIFA said in a statement, adding that the allegations were investigated by Swiss authorities.

"In its verdict of 26 June 2008, the Criminal Court of Zug had not convicted any FIFA officials," it added.

"It is therefore important to stress again the fact that no FIFA officials were accused of any criminal offence in these proceedings.

Six executives from ISL, which was awarded exclusive marketing rights for successive World Cups and other sporting events, were tried for mis-using company money. Three were fined for embezzlement or accounting offences.

However, prosecutors revealed that the evidence opened a trail of suspect payments by the firm through offshore companies, as well as some directly to Leoz.

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