Tarnishing Gold: Official Accused of Attempting to Rig 2012 Olympic Boxing

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Dean Mouhtaropoulos / Getty Images

The BBC shed light on an investigation into the World Series Boxing (WSB) organization, alleging evidence of a secret deal to fix two of the boxing gold medals at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Whistleblowers inside the organization have accused Ivan Khodabakhsh, WSB chief operating officer, of promising Azerbaijani government officials two boxing gold medals at the Olympics in exchange for $9 million, the BBC reports.

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The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), the governing body of the WSB, admits an Azeri national paid $9 million to four U.S. franchises on the WSB tour, but denies the existence of any such deal.

According to the BBC, an insider said WSB was in need of funding, and that 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.”

Khodabakhsh denied the accusation, and in a BBC Newsnight interview, said “no comment,” but then added the allegation was “an absolute lie.” The media outlet has agreed to hand over its evidence to the International Olympic Committee, as a part of an investigation into the incident.

After the program aired, AIBA issued a statement that said the money was a loan from “an Azerbaijani investor…made on a commercial basis and with a view to a commercial return for the investor.” The report was released just days before the World Amateur Boxing Championships commence on Sept. 26 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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