Seoul, December 15, 2016
Dear Presidents & Secretaries General of AIBA National Member Federations
and National Federations Friends
cc: AIBA Executive Committee Members and Commission Members
Dear Boxing Friends,
It is the first time that I am reaching to all of you since I was dismissed by AIBA on June 8, 2015 although I had a few communications with EC Members last year. I have kept a low profile until now as I did not want to be the initiator for creating troubles in the sport of boxing and the organization no matter what happened between the AIBA President and me.
As you have well been informed, I received a dismissal letter signed by the AIBA President in the morning of June 8, 2015 together with a petition signed by 34 AIBA staff. That letter asked me, among other things, to no longer come to the office at all; I therefore felt being treated like a criminal. As it was difficult for me to understand the motive of this decision, I decided to seek some legal assistance to get to the bottom of the story. A legal law suit is still going on.
I left Lausanne and returned back home to Korea last year in August. As soon as I was back, I had to take care of my health as I was in a disastrous condition. During these difficult months, I received many messages of encouragement and of sympathy and I dearly appreciate the genuine friendship I have been given by many members. I am now feeling much better than I was at the time.
I am currently teaching sport management at a university as a Visiting Professor and I am enjoying this very much. In addition, I have been involved in several sport organization projects for which I began consulting six months ago. Thus, I have adjusted well back in Korea until the recent media saga which put both the AIBA President and me in another difficult situation. It is now becoming an even more sensitive matter as the time has come to find out who is telling the truth and who is not.
As AIBA and its President have already communicated with you a few times on this issue, I believe that it is now time for me to defend my name and my integrity. It took me some time to prepare this letter as I had to check all previous communications to collect all possible evidence to prove that the lies come in fact from AIBA and from its President. I have evidence for any single fact written in this letter.
In a book I read recently, the author wrote "Killing a person is to take his/her life away. Lying is to take away people’s right to know the truth which is called theft". By receiving this letter and its attachments, I hope that AIBA and its President will no longer take your right to know the truth.
I would like to apologize to you if you are of the opinion that I am too late to stand up for justice. However, I sincerely hope that you will understand that I tried to protect the image and reputation of the sport of boxing and of AIBA by remaining silent until I read the letters sent to you by AIBA. The situation forced me to call for justice and to prove these facts which AIBA will never be able to distort again.
[Lie #1: The AIBA President said "I did not know details of the AZE Loan Investment Deal"]
AIBA created the World Series of Boxing in early 2009 and needed investors to operate this league. The WSB was planned to have a total of 12 teams and be represented on 4 continents. Thus, IMG was contacted to be WSB’s marketing partner. IMG’s roles were to find investors for Franchises and to generate marketing incomes.
The partnership with IMG did not go well and no investors were found to launch the Franchises in the American region before the first season started although great efforts were spent to find some. Therefore, while there was a discussion to launch a WSB Franchise in Azerbaijan, the AIBA President and I visited Baku and requested the AZE Boxing Federation President to find an investor for the WSB Franchises in the American region.
All events, discussions and meetings conducted between the AZE Boxing Federation President, the AZE Investor and AIBA are well described in the document entitled "Chronological Order of Events Related to the AZE Loan Investment" which resumes the sequence of facts. By reading all documents in the attachments, you will see that the AIBA President was well involved and signed the agreement together with me. I managed all technical aspects of getting this agreement signed along with the AIBA Legal Manager and the WSB SA COO under the supervision of the AIBA President.
In a letter sent to BBC on September 16, 2011 following its accusations against AIBA, the UK Lawyers hired by AIBA, "Cater-Ruck", stated "Dr Wu was amongst the signatories and was plainly aware of the deal". In addition, the AIBA President sent two letters, one to the AZE Boxing Federation President and one to the AZE Investor, urging them to sign the agreement.
I can assure you that during my time as AIBA Executive Director, not one single letter bearing the AIBA President’s signature has ever been sent by the AIBA HQs Office without his approval (given either by email or over the telephone) and that he always received copies of all correspondence with his signature. In addition, electronic signatures were mostly used to send letters from the AIBA HQs due to the fact that they were sent via email.
On January 21, 2013 the AIBA President received a letter from the AZE Investor demanding to receive a financial report and to propose a payment schedule to get the loan funds back by the end of 2013. Then, this Investor sent another letter to AIBA recently, on November 22, in order to receive AIBA’s proposal on a payment plan to get the loan funds back as AIBA has been negotiating with the AZE Investor by visiting Baku early November (actually, the AIBA Acting Executive Director was in Baku the same day he sent a letter to all National Federations in which I was blamed for having managed this investment alone, etc., thus on November 3). Nevertheless, I learned that both AIBA and the AZE Investor are in contact to find a solution to pay the loan funds back, but that at the same time, the AIBA President insists on claiming that he was not aware of this deal.
As a conclusion, what the AIBA President said to the IOC, National Federations, EC Members and Media, i.e. that he was not aware of the details of this deal and never signed the agreement, is false and a lie.
He has even accused me to have forged his signature; however, he initiated all pages of the agreement and signed both as the AIBA President and the WSB SA Chairman.
(*) Please note that all communications with the AZE Investor were done via the Azerbaijan Boxing Federation as the Investor could not speak English at all. Therefore, the Azerbaijan Boxing Federation President provided his kind support by dispatching his Assistant and the ABF Secretary General to help the communications between the Investor and AIBA.
[Lie #2: The AIBA President said "WSB Americas was Ho Kim’s private company"]
The company WSB AO SA was registered by AIBA on June 3, 2010 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The AIBA President approved the payment of CHF 100,000 as the initial capital to register this company as a subsidiary of WSB SA and thus it was eventually owned by AIBA.
(*) For your understanding, WSB AO SA is the company registered in Lausanne, Switzerland to manage only the transactions of AZE Loan Investment Funds. WSB Americas are the Franchises based in USA and Mexico. WSB SA is the main company managing all WSB Programs registered in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Then, why was I appointed as the Director of WSB AO SA?
The AZE Investor insisted on the AIBA President that I should handle all operations for all 4 Franchises in the American region by leaving my position as the AIBA Executive Director.
As this demand could not be agreed upon but to satisfy the Investor, the AIBA President proposed to him for me to be the Director of the company WSB AO SA and to be appointed as the President for these 4 Franchises in the American region. I took these positions following the AIBA President’s instructions in my capacity of both AIBA Executive Director and WSB CEO at that time.
Based on the above, both the AIBA Legal Manager and USA Lawyer also advised for me to be the sole Director of WSB AO SA and President of the US and Mexico Franchises. I believe that my name is still there with these titles although I left AIBA. This represents an incredible management failure by AIBA.
As one of the proofs to show the WSB AO status:
Section 3 - paragraphs 41, 43, 44, 45, 46 of the PWC report states the following (please note that PWC reviewed the Delaware registry documents):
41. Through WSB SA and WSB AO SA, AIBA owns 100% of the North American Franchises and 99% ownership in WSB Mexico. AIBA has 100% ownership in WSB SA, WSB SA 100% ownership in WSB AO SA, WSB AO SA 100% ownership in WSB Americas, WSB East, WSB Central, WSB West, and 99% ownership in WSB Mexico.
43. WSB AO SA was first registered in the Swiss Commercial register on 03 June 2010. Mr Ho Kim is the sole registered director of the company and holds individual signatory rights over the company.
44. WSB Americas, WSB East, WSB Central, WSB West, are companies incorporated under the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware in the USA. The companies have the same incorporation documentation, statutes and articles and were registered on 23 June 2010.
45. Mr Ho Kim signed all incorporation documentation being elected as President of all the companies. Mr Andrew Madigan was appointed as an Officer and Treasurer to all the companies.
46. WSB Mexico was incorporated on 21 June 2010 under the general Act of Commercial Companies of Mexico. Mr Ho Kim was appointed as President of the company and Mr Andrew Madigan as the Secretary.
In addition, clause 13 page 18 of the PWC report states:
The appointment and removal of the AIBA Chairman as the voting chairman of the Board of Directors of the Debtor (i.e. the Debtor being WSB AO SA).
So according to PWC, the AIBA President is on the Board of Directors of WSB AO SA.
Continuously, clause 13 of the PWC report also states:
Additionally, the Guarantor (AIBA) undertakes to control WSB SA for the duration of this agreement, and so does WSB SA undertake to control WSB AO SA for the duration of the agreement unless the Creditor provides approval in writing.
The Creditor must have felt that it was important that AIBA remained in control!
Consequently, WSB AO SA was not my private company at all. It is an AIBA subsidiary.
[Lie #3: The AIBA President said "Ho Kim enjoyed a wide discretion in the negotiation and in the implementation of the transactions of WSB AO SA"]
I trust that you will remember that further to the BBC allegations, AIBA issued a Special Investigation Committee (SIC) report prepared by the SIC Chairman, Tom Virgets. This report stated the following:
"The Investigation Committee found out that the funds paid by the Investor were kept in a separate account by WSB in Switzerland. This was done in order to ensure the Investor’s funds could be sent directly to a dedicated account in the United States to finance the activities of boxing franchises in Los Angeles, Miami, Memphis and Mexico City.
The Committee gained access to, and reviewed the actual financial documents which are showing that these transfers were indeed made to the account of WSB America Inc. in Colorado Springs and then disbursed to the four franchises cities in the United States".
The flow of transferring the loan investment funds was managed as follow:
• The AZE Investor sent the funds to WSB AO SA account
• Based on an approved budget prepared by the WSB SA COO and the WSB Americas CEO, there was a need to obtain a pre-approval from the AIBA President
• The WSB Finance Manager or the AIBA Senior Finance Manager sent the funds to WSB Americas HQs with my signature
• WSB Americas HQs disbursed the funds to all different franchises
The AIBA President approved all transactions and received all financial and management reports on what was going on with the Franchises in USA and Mexico. Therefore, I cannot accept being accused by the AIBA President to have done these transactions and spent these funds without his approval.
When these 4 Franchises were registered, the USA lawyer suggested registering the companies in Delaware and this was agreed. In addition, and as mentioned above, the AIBA Legal Manager discussed with the USA lawyer to register one person, me, as the President and all other positions legally. I had no idea of what it involved but agreed to it as the AIBA President asked me to do so.
[Lie #4: The AIBA President said "Ho Kim forged my signature"]
Oh, my god, as if anyone could forge his signature! If the AIBA President believes that I forged his signature and signed the agreement, why has he not denied this loan agreement until recently? He also accused me to have forged his signature on the letters he sent to the Azerbaijan Boxing Federation President and the AZE Investor. But, as explained, a clear system of correspondence approval and of using his signature existed at the time at the AIBA HQs.
[Lie #5: The AIBA President said "Ho Kim and his niece stole the money"]
This remark really comes from the lowest level of human being. The AIBA President can blame me as he did not like the way I disagreed on his management decisions always falling at the last moment and changing from one minute to the other. However, how can he say that money was stolen? The funds sent to WSB Americas HQs were managed by the CEO, Finance Managers and Abe Lin (his childhood friend). Thus, how could I have spent the money from the AIBA HQs Office and how could my niece have stolen any money as she was not at all involved with finance at the WSB Americas HQs? For the entire period of my work in AIBA, I never stole a single penny from AIBA. Recently, the AIBA President instructed the search of any bank transaction between me and my niece. I believe that he has gone too far.
When the management structure of WSB Americas HQs was being formed, and as the AIBA President never trusted ANYONE in regard to financial matters from the day he became the President, he imposed his childhood friend, Abe Lin, to manage the office and all financial matters of WSB Americas HQs. This was his tactic to have eyes and ears on site and no choice was given to accept or not.
[Lie #6: The AIBA President said "Ho Kim, as the President of these WSB Franchises, failed in their Management"]
I do not have any financial management knowledge and experience. Therefore, I always thought it was wrong to try managing any financial issue and challenge the staff that had a profound expertise. Therefore, it was natural for me to leave all financial issues to the WSB SA COO and to the WSB Americas CEO in the USA.
In addition, all legal issues including registrations of all 4 WSB Franchises in the USA and tax related issues were likewise managed by the WSB Americas CEO and staff. I therefore received most of important reports and progresses of the operation which I immediately reported to the AIBA President also in his capacity of WSB AO SA and WSB SA Chairman of the Board.
After the staff of the WSB Franchises in the USA started working with Abe Lin, they found out that he had no professional knowledge and experience on accounting, finance and tax management, etc. Consequently, all staff in the WSB Americas HQs as well as the WSB SA HQs staff and COO in Lausanne strongly proposed to the AIBA President to dismiss him. And, believe it or not, he is still there in the USA working for WSB America Franchises.
At the time, there were a number of reasons that initiated a serious failure of WSB Americas as follows:
• The Investor did not send the funds on time following the needs of WSB Americas. This caused the dire situation of losing all credibility and trust from boxers, vendors and business partners.
• The WSB program concept was new to the market. In addition, in the USA, no one knew who AIBA was thus AIBA had no good image and/or reputation, etc. Therefore, it would have taken some years to develop a good status and earn revenues. However, the AIBA President expected to receive some profits from the first year and this provided tremendous stress to all staff.
• No team work and a bad management structure existed in WSB Americas HQs.
Above all, the biggest mistake was not to have found good business partners who could manage the Franchises on behalf of WSB SA and AIBA.
One of the former AIBA Staff provided me with a copy of this report at the beginning of this year. However, at that time, I did not read it in full as I had no intention to be affected by this report. I then received a list of questions to answer before the NY Times wrote its first article. After the first article was published, I had no choice but to send some evidence to prove the AIBA President’s lies thus the NY Times wrote a second article.
After that, I learned from various sources how this report was developed. The AIBA President had been talking with the IOC President blaming me for having initiated the AZE investment deal and spent the USD 10 Million via my personal account, etc., in order to justify his decision to remove me from AIBA. Then and there, the IOC President simply suggested doing an investigation to find out what I did wrong.
The AIBA President thus had no choice but to hire PwC to investigate the AZE loan investment issue called "Project Tiger". At the same time, he conducted another investigation called "Project Lion". Project Lion was to investigate all files and emails related to me personally in order to find all wrongdoings I could have done alone and which were not linked with the AIBA President. These projects started in July 2015 and ended in October 2015.
As a result, PwC could not find anything against me, thus the Project Lion failed except that some lost files were found which they believed were deleted by me intentionally. They therefore went to the court so I had to return all files back to AIBA I had, except the emails. Then, when the Project Tiger report was received, the AIBA President got furious as the contents of this report included many wrongdoings from his own management, etc. Therefore, his staff was instructed to cover this report up and not to submit it to the IOC until recently.
PwC interviewed Abe Lin, David Obrist (AIBA Finance Senior Manager) and Edward Atkinson (former AIBA Finance Director) for its investigation. It also came to my attention that when PwC investigated this matter, they asked Abe Lin to provide all supporting documents and audit reports, etc. At the end, he could not. Therefore, PwC finally reported that USD 4.5 Million did not have supporting documents (however, when I contacted previous staff and former WSB SA COO on this matter, I was told that all documents existed. This tells everything.)
Out of a total of USD 10 Million, AIBA took back over USD 1.8 Million as it loaned the funds to WSB Americas to operate before the AZE investment funds arrived. Then, WSB SA also took back its loan to WSB AO SA of a little bit less than USD 1 Million. Therefore, not all USD 10 Million were sent to WSB Americas. In addition, it was important for PwC to get all bank statements to figure out the exact total amount which arrived in the WSB Americas account in order to calculate the exact amount spent.
In addition to Abe Lin and to David Obrist, all previous WSB Americas financial operations were managed by the former WSB SA COO, the WSB SA Senior Finance Manager, the WSB Americas CEO, the WSB Americas Operation Manager and me. Consequently, one can wonder why PwC did not contact any of these individuals in order to produce a clear and correct assessment report. I believe that PwC was limited in its correct understanding and documentation given by Abe Lin, David Obrist and Edward Atkinson. However, it might be vital for AIBA to get to the bottom of what happened in the WSB AO SA and with WSB Americas financial management as soon as possible by asking the help of the people involved previously.
Several weeks ago, finally, the IOC officially asked the AIBA President to submit the PwC Report to the IOC Ethics Commission. I believe that the IOC has now had the time to review this report and consider the next steps. I sincerely hope that the IOC will instruct for a full assessment to be done once more by allowing all previous managers to provide all necessary materials and documents to PwC in order to reevaluate the management of both WSB AO SA and the WSB America HQs. It was indeed a bad management not to provide the full financial report to the Investor and report all financial issues to the AIBA EC, National Federations and audit company, etc. Although it was the choice of the AIBA President, I feel that I should take some responsibilities for not having pushed him to manage this matter following Swiss laws and good governance principles.
[AIBA Finance and President]
From the moment he was elected as the AIBA President in 2006, he declared that he would sign all expenditures regardless of the amount. He wanted to take the full control over finance as he wanted AIBA to be a clean and honest organization with his management. Thus, he claimed he was the only clean and honest person in AIBA.
The strangest thing which happened in AIBA was that its President decided to approve all spending; however, he always blamed others for any difficult financial situation. Before and after he approved any payment form, he never stopped complaining on the spending. Each month, he asked for the payment forms to be prepared along with current bank balance and forecast for following months, etc.
The payment forms had to be reviewed and signed by the following people before being submitted to the AIBA President each month:
• Executive Director
• Finance Director
• Senior Finance Manager
This means that including the AIBA President, the payment forms needed 5 signatures. In addition, all payment forms for AIBA, WSB, APB and BMA also needed to be prepared. Therefore, tremendous efforts and time were spent each month to prepare these forms and manage all finance related issues.
After the payment forms were sent to the AIBA President for his approval and signature, the staff in the Taipei Office was asked to review them again. Thus, he received feedbacks from the staff in the Taipei Office in order to question some expenditures and sign forms. This process usually took one week. Therefore, from the moment forms were being prepared until receiving the AIBA President’s signature, half of a month had gone away.
When the AIBA President was elected, he told me that he would contribute with over USD 300,000 to AIBA. This never happened. On the contrary, he asked me to set a "President Fund" for which he would collect USD 100 per day as per diem when he would attend or participate in official meetings, events, competitions, etc. This is even written in AIBA Financial Regulations. However, can you imagine the AIBA President claiming per diems for his personal use instead of giving money to AIBA by collecting USD 100 per day each time he is in the AIBA HQs Office?
As you can see from the attachments provided, he spent money from this fund to cover expenses related to his campaign for the IOC Presidential Election and cover personal expenditures. Would I do this as the AIBA President? I would certainly not as after all this is AIBA’s money.
The AIBA President asked to set a budget for his Taipei Office, called the President Office in Taiwan. The budget started as CHF 50,000 per year and went up to CHF 200,000 per year for the past 5 years. Therefore, the total amount his office received from AIBA exceeded the total amount of all 5 Continental funds for the 2010 – 2014 period (this can also be seen in the attachments provided). The AIBA President did not want me to be involved for his Taipei Office expenses. So, the quarterly reports went to David Obrist with all supporting documents.
David Obrist raised many questions to me so I then got involved to give my advice. However, at a later stage, I gave up and left the AIBA President to manage this matter directly with David Obrist. David Obrist raised questions on the office and car rental expenses, etc. He and I always understood that his Taipei Office premises had been provided for free by the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee for almost over 25 years.
Then, suddenly, the AIBA President started charging monthly office lease costs to AIBA. In addition, he once used his personal car. From one day to another, he started charging AIBA for monthly rental costs of a new car. In regard to the salary of the staff, he had only one Assistant. I believe that he is now giving some funds to other staff for their support on some of AIBA’s work which is something I always supported before. David Obrist also raised questions on travel expenses of the Taipei Office, etc. I still wonder how CHF 200,000 can be spent between the AIBA President and his Assistant.
For me, this amount is well too high. In addition, he has had this office as an IOC Member Office supported by the Chinese Taipei NOC for a long time. I do not understand why AIBA has to pay all expenses and as a matter of fact, he just added one staff to manage AIBA’s related matters to his previous IOC Member operation.
Although the budgets for Confederations and Commissions were set, funds sending were always adjusted based on their bank balance. If they did have enough funds into their bank accounts, I never agreed to keep on sending funds. I tried to apply the same principle to the Taipei Office. However, for example, the AIBA President demanded to receive scheduled funds although the Taipei Office had over CHF 80,000 left in its bank account. I challenged this; however, I failed to persuade him to save AIBA HQs’ situation in a difficult time.
I pushed to set the Foundation of Better Boxing (FBB) in order to help developing countries on boxing programs. I then expected that the AIBA President would contribute first with some seed funds so that others might follow. However, he declined my request. Therefore, I had to set a meeting with a previous AIBA Vice President from Korea to contribute with USD 500,000 as the seed funds and he did. This was the only funds received by the FBB until today. Nevertheless, in addition, it was decided to put some exchange revenues in this account.
As you are aware, the AIBA President is always flying in 1st class when travelling. In recent years, AIBA has spent too much money for his travels. For many months prior to his candidacy for the IOC Presidential Election, he travelled around the world to promote himself. Who paid? AIBA! Was it necessary for him to attend so many WSB competitions and AIBA Championships? Was it necessary for him to visit so many countries if they invited him? Now, these questions should be left to the AIBA President’s mind to be answered.
I believe that it is vital for all of you to check and understand the financial risks AIBA is currently facing. The AIBA President might try to solve all these issues by selling all AIBA rights to Alibaba (AliSports). However, I was informed that the deal has recently been suspended; therefore, you and all EC Members should be extremely alerted on all finance matters.
The AIBA President has recently transferred all rights of BMA back to AIBA. This is a process which will bankrupt BMA. Then, what will happen to Mr Di Wu who invested a total of CHF 19 Million in BMA? In addition, what will happen to the KAZ Investor who put USD 10 Million in BMA?
In addition to the AZE loan of USD 10 Million, AIBA will have to solve a total of over USD 40 Million as financial risks. The IOC revenues, provided they are sent to AIBA, should certainly not be used to cover these investments.
However, as you learned from the AIBA Statement issued after the Guardian article on the Alibaba deal, it was written that AIBA does not plan to use the Alibaba investment funds to pay back all these investments. Because there was no signed agreement between the AIBA President and Mr Di Wu for the investment, does the AIBA President think that AIBA does not have to pay back the CHF 19 Million? This is an act of abandon and careless attitude towards a great investor who helped AIBA in a difficult time.
It was indeed surprising news to learn that the AIBA President had cancelled Mr Di Wu’s AIBA Vice Presidency and did not tell any EC member about this act until now. I was informed that he blamed him for not having invested all CHF 35 Million and used this reason to cancel his position. It will soon be a matter of time before AIBA will have to face another serious law suit initiated by Mr Di Wu.
I do not know whether there was any corruption in the judging during the Rio Olympic Games or not since I was not there. When you watch any boxing competition in a very important event like the Olympic Games, the public and boxing family’s perception on the judging becomes very suspicious. In every match, they believe that their boxers won. This is normal. However, there are also some matches in which referees and judges could make mistakes. However, this does not prove that there has been corruption.
All 36 R&Js who participated in the Rio Olympic Games are now provisionally suspended and Karim Bouzidi had also been removed from the competition. The crucial mistake done by the AIBA President was to announce this matter to the public in a far too rushed manner as most of them are probably innocent and did not get involved in any questionable act.
He said that he has evidence. However, he could not show anything to anyone. Why?
R&Js selected for Rio are supposed to be the best ones. They spent years to reach this level. They should feel betrayed and disappointed. AIBA formed a Special Committee to investigate the Rio refereeing and judging and I heard that each member of this Committee called each R&J asking to reveal any inside act of corruption.
I think that the AIBA President has no right to treat these R&Js like this. When a match is misjudged, should it be translated as corruption? I believe that the AIBA President received too much pressure to prove to the IOC that the sport of boxing was clean and the organization transparent.
However, now that the AIBA President has suspended Officials and dismissed the AIBA Executive Director without having any concrete evidence of corruption and announced it to the public, how will he be able to face National Federations if the Committee cannot prove any act of corruption? If he indeed has some concrete evidence, he will then have to show them to the world in order for the world to believe that his decisions were the proper ones. Why is he not revealing if evidence was found?
On several occasions, the AIBA President said "we should help countries that helped AIBA" which could well give the wrong impressions to some people, especially to the ITOs and R&Js in competitions.
One obvious situation took place in 2012. When the BBC scandal was broken and they accused AIBA to have received USD 10 Million funds by promising 2 gold medals to AZE, etc., the AIBA President said "we have to do something so that AZE does not get medals in London. Otherwise, the whole world will believe that there is a scandal and deal between us".
Then, what happened in London? Perhaps, many AIBA people will remember the AIBA President’s very aggressive behaviors as he was hostile to AZE delegations. I really hope that this type of acts by the AIBA President did not influence the Officials to treat the AZE boxers differently. I chose not to be in the Semi-Finals and Finals to avoid the pressure I received from the AIBA President to make sure there would be no medals for Azerbaijan in order to prove to BBC that its accusations were false. Was this the most appropriate way to prove AIBA’s innocence? Is the AIBA President the ultimate clean person respected by all boxing people? Who was the ultimate victims from his attitude – the AZE boxers!
[AIBA President and IOC]
The AIBA President was elected as an IOC Member in 1988. Thus, he had been an IOC Member for 25 years when he ran for the IOC Presidency in 2013. Since 2011, he raised his ambition to be in this position and gradually increased his PR activities targeting the IOC and its Members. Did the AIBA President intend to use his AIBA status in order to achieve his goal in IOC? This question raised by the boxing family and even from the Olympic circle was asked to me too many times. I do not know the response and cannot answer clearly this question. However, one thing I can confirm to you at this moment is that any issue related to the IOC always had much more priority than any matter related to AIBA and the sport of boxing.
During the London 2012 Olympic Games, one of AIBA’s most loyal and valuable ITOs died from a heart attack. The AIBA President was a few miles away participating to the IOC Session. The body of that ITO was left in his hotel room for over 7 hours before it could be removed. Although I asked him several times, the AIBA President never came. This always left in my heart, and I am sure it is also the case for a few other people, a great sadness.
The Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) was suspended by AIBA in 2013 just before the IOC Presidential Election due to some wrong management of WSB boxers. A few days later, the AIBA President, who was attending a Media Day in London, called me to lift the suspension. He told me that his IOC colleagues from England were threatened him not to expect any vote in Buenos Aires unless the suspension was immediately lifted. I told him that this was impossible. Then, he called the AIBA Senior Legal Manager to search a clause in the Statutes so that he could use his power as President to change any decision in AIBA. And then, for his sake, he lifted the suspension.
The AIBA President and I searched for a long time a person to take the position of BMA CEO. During 2014, a very famous and reputable recruiting agency based in the UK was hired to find the best candidate. However, at the end, he decided to hire a person recommended by one of his fellow IOC Members whom he believed would give him a vote at the IOC Presidential Election.
This person did not have the proper qualifications to be the BMA CEO following the hired agency and HQs staff evaluations. The AIBA President was begged not to hire this person. However, and against all advices, he decided to hire him. At the time, he also told me that the IOC Marketing Department would help AIBA as the IOC Marketing Director also strongly recommended this person to be hired. The facts on how this process took place were known and what the AIBA President said was not true. The wife of this person was working for the IOC Marketing Department. Thus, she went on to talk to that IOC Member and her boss in order to help her husband. Later, I was made aware that the IOC Marketing Director denied being involved in this process. I disagreed to the decision of hiring this person until I left AIBA. This was one of the crucial reasons why I was removed by the AIBA President.
The AIBA President has never had any important position in the IOC in his 25 years as an IOC Member until he became one of the IOC Executive Board Members in 2012 as the ASOIF IF Representative. He has always been desperate to use all the AIBA programs that I have created and developed (the new competition guidelines and management structure, WSB, APB, BMA, Boxing Academy, etc.) as his personal projects for his personal promotion.
At the beginning of the campaign for the IOC Presidential Election, he told me that he would prepare USD 1 Million to spend for the campaign. Then, due to the very restricted election guidelines issued by the IOC, he realized that he could not use money to do his campaign like he did for the AIBA Election in 2006. Therefore, I proposed to hire a PR agency to receive some professional help. He refused and asked me to take care of everything from the development of manifestos, brochure to writing his speeches, this despite the fact that I was very sick at the time and under a medical certificate. Until the day of the IOC Presidential Election, I had to fold all AIBA work and to concentrate on helping his campaign and develop all of above programs, this together with 2 AIBA Directors which he later on criticized as they were late with their work and development projects.
There are always some questions in my mind, like what does he know about the sport of boxing to lead AIBA? Does he know enough about the Olympic Movement and the IOC to run for the Presidency? I will leave to all of you to reply. However, one thing that I can tell you for sure is that he believes and thinks that he is the Emperor of the AIBA Kingdom and that eventually, he can act alone. Hence, he can choose what he wants to hear, what he wants to believe and can do what he wants to be seen. All others in AIBA are treated as servants like I was. If you still have his manifesto brochure from 2006, you will read that he promised to regard himself as the servant of the boxing family. What happened to the AIBA President since then?
When he lost the IOC Presidential Election with a dire defeat in 2013, he started spreading the rumor that the current IOC President and ANOC President manipulated people to win the election. I received an email from him explaining this to me. I called him and asked him not to be a sore loser which was not a good model as an IF President and leader of an international organization.
Since that moment, thus starting from the AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013, the arguments and differences on how to manage AIBA and its programs seriously widened between him and me.
Even during my stay in AIBA, there has always been some threat that the governance could collapse at any moment. There was no principle of good governance such as no participation, no delegation, no transparency in finance, no ethics, no democracy, etc.
While all challenges were great, I was convinced that my staff of the time, composed mostly of talented and committed young professionals, would deliver to the market place a solid and thrilling product and exciting events. I am convinced that if we had all pulled together and pledged our total commitment and effort, we would have succeeded in reaching our goals. Therefore, I kept encouraging all of my staff to be a better asset and more constructive driving force for our success by working very hard, too hard, most probably because I wanted all of them to be like me: walking the path with passion and hard work while empowering others.
However, you need to know that during the almost 9 years I worked for AIBA, my dignity, my integrity and competence were attacked on numerous occasions by the AIBA President, and this repeatedly (this was also the case for some Directors who are ready to testify). I was often falsely accused of wrongdoing and persistently humiliated.
From 2006, I never hold any press interview alone. The AIBA President did not want me to be talking with any media and press, why? He wanted to be the sole spokesperson to represent AIBA. Thus, although he could not answer many technical questions, he insisted to always be the front face of AIBA. One time, I wrote a letter starting by "On behalf of AIBA…...".
He yelled at me and forbid me to use the words "On behalf of AIBA" as he told me he must be the only one using these words in all communications. I never attended at any medal ceremony in any competition. I decided to pull back behind my desk as the AIBA President had decided to run the International Boxing Association as his own kingdom or company.
I know that I have not been an easy person to deal on business issues with you. However, I am proud of having devoting my life and health for AIBA and the sport of boxing for such a long time. Most importantly, I truly enjoyed the friendship I had with some of you in the past. I have good memories and bad experiences of/in AIBA. Nevertheless, I would like to confess the following regrets to all of you:
• I should have left AIBA in 2013 when the AIBA President wanted to remove me after no investment for BMA took place (I learned this via his Assistant and also heard that directly via the telephone when his Assistant suggested me to listen).
• I should have learned more about the principles of "good governance" and should have fought to adopt them in AIBA instead of following all the time the AIBA President’s instructions.
• I should have spoken with the IOC leaders in order to alert them on the problems existing within AIBA in order to receive their help and not get worse situations.
• Although the final report had close figures, I should have insisted for all statistics and results on concussion and cut rates from the various competitions to be included with correct figures before being submitted to the IOC. This has always bothered me although the results were in favor of removing the headguards anyway.
• I tried, however failed, to change the culture of suspicion each time anyone contacted and talked with the R&Js before and during the competitions. When the R&Js attended at the competitions, they became a group of people and were completely isolated. Why could AIBA not develop a more matured culture to face the R&Js who were always regarded as easy individuals to corrupt? If AIBA continues with the present culture and bias, then it must be something very wrong with AIBA’s sporting system.
• I also failed to make of the AIBA President a true leader who could take all responsibilities no matter what the staff or members did wrong. As he wanted to be the person to make all decisions alone, then he should be the person standing up by taking all responsibilities.
I was made aware that the AIBA President is presently seeking every possible way to prosecute me. After this letter is sent, I am convinced that he will immediately ask AIBA’s current hired lawyers to follow the fastest legal steps to prosecute me. However, as he always uses the same tactics, his treats and actions with the legal system do not worry me. He should spend AIBA’s money for far better reasons such as to find some solutions to protect the image and lost reputation of AIBA instead of paying lawyers.
This letter is not for a fight between the AIBA President and me. I only and truly believe that it is now time for all AIBA National Federations and EC Members to know what exactly happened and to make good decisions for building good governance in the organization. It is your responsibility.
All the contents of this letter are tips of the iceberg of all unethical happenings in AIBA in past. I am preparing to convey all more details to the IOC Ethics Commission. UBS terminated its financial relationship with AIBA. I heard that the AIBA Auditor, KPMG, is also considering breaking its relationship with AIBA. Will IOC be the next to penalize AIBA due to its bad governance? I believe that this might come soon.
I know that sending this letter could damage my current lawsuit proceedings in the court against AIBA (I am claiming to receive some compensation for having worked during holidays, overtime, medical certificates, etc.). However, no matter what will happen to me, I believe that you and the boxers should not be victimized by a person who has no leadership skills.
In recent days, the AIBA President instructed his staff not to prepare any financial report for the upcoming EC Meeting and Extraordinary Congress. Why? When AIBA is facing a lot of questions on finance via the IOC and the Media, is it the most proper way to dissolve doubts and open all financial issues to members and stakeholders? I believe that the AIBA President has too many secrets or mismanaged issues to be covered up.
I also heard that the AIBA President was planning to host a Black Tie Dinner to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of AIBA at the Extraordinary Congress next week. This dinner is to be seen as being sponsored by the Taishan company. However, I was made aware that this might also not be true. The only person knowing the truth is the AIBA President.
Is it the right time for AIBA to enjoy some champagne when the organization is going through huge and serious financial problems?