Top Ukrainian Olympic official accused of jobbery
23 May, 2012 12:52
A top Ukrainian Olympic official was signed out from his post indefinitely following allegations that he planned to sell up to 100 high-price tickets for the London Games on the black market.
Vladimir Gerashchenko, secretary general of Ukraine's National Olympic Committee, became the headliner of a BBC television report about the black market for London Games tickets.An undercover reporter telephoned Gerashchenko, introduced himself as an unauthorized dealer and offered to sell the official up to 100 tickets for cash. Gerashchenko agreed, but later claimed he had “never planned to sell tickets in the UK” and had been making “diplomatic talk to satisfy the persistent interest of the ticket dealer.” Gerashchenko said the meeting with the undercover reporter “was unofficial, with no intention to make any real deal.” “I have nothing to propose,” he said. “I did not have real tickets to sell. I agreed to this meeting only so as not to offend the person from the host country who asked me several times for a meeting.”The words didn’t win over Gerashchenko’s boss, president of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee and IOC member Sergey Bubka. He called Gerashchenko in Kiev on Tuesday to tell him he was suspended pending an investigation. “We must be fair and come to a correct decision,” the pole vault legend said in Quebec, where he is attending Olympic meetings and the SportAccord conference.He cut short his stay in Quebec to fly to Ukraine on Wednesday to deal with the case. A special investigation commission is to be formed shortly. It is a criminal offense in Britain to sell Olympic tickets on the black market, and Gerashchenko may face fines of up to 20,000 pounds ($30,000). Under rules applying outside the European Union, tickets can only be sold to people who are residents in that country. “The safest way for the public to purchase tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is from the London 2012 website,” the UK’s Metropolitan Police said in their statement.