The Olympics ethics watchdog will “monitor” developments after South Korean media said Samsung carried out illicit lobbying for Pyeongchang to be awarded this year’s Winter Games, IOC president Thomas Bach said on Thursday.
Samsung, a top sponsor of the Olympics, has denied the claims made by the SBS television network that the company offered incentives to get votes from International Olympic Committee members.
Bach told a press conference during a visit to New Delhi that the allegations “have been clearly denied by Samsung, this is all that we know so far. But I am sure that our our ethics commission will monitor the situation”.
SBS TV said it had obtained copies of 137 emails including messages between Samsung executives and Papa Massata Diack – the son of the scandal-tainted former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Lamine Diack.
The mails included one listing 27 IOC members with voting rights in the decision for the 2018 Games, which was contested by Pyeongchang, Munich in Germany and Annecy in France.
The report said Papa Diack had promised to convince each of the named members to vote for Pyeongchang.
In one 2010 mail Diack requested $12 million in funds – including a three-year, $9.5 million sponsorship for the IAAF’s Diamond League athletics meetings. He also asked for a “success fee”.
The emails were confiscated by South Korean prosecutors last year during a graft investigation into former president Park Geun-hye, SBS said.
As a top level Olympics sponsor, Samsung is not allowed to lobby for Games venue candidates. It strongly denied the allegations last week.
“Samsung has never engaged in any illegal lobbying activities to have Pyeongchang win the bidding”, the South Korean tech giant said in a statement.