Rogge bans The Bagman but Blatter makes him welcome
By Andrew Jennings
Sunday January 17, 2010
IOC president Jacques Rogge has banned businessman Jean-Marie Weber, notorious for paying an astonishing $100 million in kickbacks to sports officials from IOC events.
Weber – aka The Bagman – had acquired accreditation for the IOC Congress in Copenhagen last year and was spotted in the shadows with his longtime friend IOC member and former FIFA president João Havelange.
The Congress was a triumph for 93-year-old Havelange who persuaded his fellow IOC members to vote the 2016 Olympics to his home town Rio. Weber’s presence raised concerns that bribes had been paid and that the IOC was still susceptible to corruption.
At the end of the Congress Rogge agreed to look into how the ‘Kickback King’ had acquired hard-to-get accreditation. A few weeks later Rogge claimed that he couldn’t find out and that it must have been a ‘last minute’ arrangement.
This was odd. Getting accreditation and the precious neck plastic that went with it involved answering a lengthy questionnaire about antecedents and employer. All this information would be on the IOC’s computers. And Weber had also secured a sought-after room in the IOC’s off-limits hotel.
This reporter pointed out to Rogge that Weber is also close to African football chief Issa Hayatou and despite his criminal record, is listed as a ‘consultant’ on the African confederation website.
Realising that if action wasn’t taken, the IOC would again be branded as an organisation that wasn’t serious about combating corruption in its ranks Rogge capitulated, announcing, ‘We will make sure that Mr Weber does not again receive accreditation for IOC events.’
We asked IOC member and FIFA president Sepp Blatter – another close friend of Weber - if he would follow president Rogge’s example and ban the Kickback King.
Blatter’s acting press chief Nicolas Maingot was instructed to send a reply that makes clear that FIFA is deaf, dumb and blind to Weber’s admission in court that he paid vast bribes . . . to senior FIFA officials!