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September 14, 2000
Samaranch deflects graft chargesAdrian Warner
Olympics chief Juan Antonio Samaranch said on Thursday he was not worried about attacks on the organisation from international anti-graft campaigners.
Publishing a survey on world corruption, the head of the Berlin-based "Transparency International" on Wednesday hit out at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), saying some of the leaders of the "bribe-scarred" organisation were still "running the show."
The IOC has been battling to improve its image since the biggest bribery scandal in its history erupted at the end of 1998.
Asked if he was concerned about the attacks, the IOC president, who faced numerous calls to quit during the scandal, said: "We are not worried. We are used to it."
But IOC executive board member Kevan Gosper admitted the organisation had not completely recovered after 10 members were forced to leave for accepting gifts from Salt Lake City during its successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games.
"We have never claimed that we have fully recovered our reputation," Gosper said. "I say we have been working at recovering and I believe we've gone a long way."
Samaranch said on Wednesday that he feared the Salt Lake scandal could blow up again during the Winter Games in the U.S. city in February 2002.
The U.S. Justice Department is still investigating the affair, with hundreds of boxes of documents yet to be made public.
IOC leaders have faced numerous attacks from the media around their meetings in the run-up to Friday's opening of the Sydney Games.
After publishing a closely-watched Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) in Berlin, Transparency International chairman Peter Eigen said: "Corruption takes many forms and is a universal cancer.
"On the eve of the Olympic Games...it is worth recalling the fact that some of the leaders of the bribe-scarred IOC are still running the show."
Gosper said he was disappointed by the comment.
"We have been absolutely conscious of the reversal to our reputation from Salt Lake City and we have been working extremely hard to recover our position.
"Many other organisations would have gone out backwards. But I believe we moved swiftly to take out the guys from our organisation. No one seems to have come up with any more names with such serious behaviour within the IOC."
Samaranch added: "I have to be very clear. The IOC members...were sanctioned three months after we knew of the facts about Salt Lake City."
He added that the increasing number of athletes who were becoming IOC members showed that the organisation was reforming.
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