LONDON (Reuters) - An IOC ethics commission has started looking into allegations of payments involving a prominent member of the International Olympic Committee shortly before the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro back in 2009, the IOC said on Friday.
French newspaper Le Monde reported that prosecutors were investigating payments to former Namibian sprinter, IOC member and IAAF Council member Frankie Fredericks and Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former head of world athletics (IAAF) Lamine Diack, who currently under investigation for bribery and embezzlement. The payments were made shortly before the 2009 vote in Copenhagen to decide the 2016 Games host.
"The IOC remains fully committed to clarifying this situation, working in cooperation with the (French) prosecutor," the organization said in a statement.
"As far as Mr Fredericks is concerned, he informed the IOC and explained the situation and emphasized his innocence immediately upon being contacted by the journalist."
"The IOC trusts that Mr Fredericks will bring all the elements to prove his innocence against these allegations made by Le Monde."
"Immediately after a link was made between this contractual payment and the vote for the host city of the Olympic Games 2016, Mr Fredericks himself also turned to the IOC Ethics Commission which is now following up on all the allegations in order to fully clarify this matter."
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Mitch Phillips)