Top sports body reduced punishments on convicted swimming execs: lawmaker

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 21, 2017 - 17:38
  • Updated : Sept 21, 2017 - 17:38
South Korea's top sports body has reduced lifetime bans on swimming executives convicted of bribery, apparently thanks to their connection with the head of the organization, a lawmaker claimed Thursday.

Rep. Noh Woong-rae of the ruling Democratic Party, who works on the Education, Culture, Sports, and Tourism Committee of the National Assembly, said the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee in April amended its code to allow for commuting of the sentences of officials convicted of any of four major offenses -- embezzlement or breach of duty, school admission corruption related with sports, a crime of violence or sexual assault, or match-fixing.

Following the revision, 24 officials applied for a pardon and five of them saw their lifetime bans reduced to reprimands or five-year suspension, according to Roh. Those who avoided lifetime bans included a former Korea Swimming Federation vice president who was found guilty of receiving bribes from construction firms for the Gwangju Summer Universiade and other officials who pocketed money during national team selections.
This file photo, taken on Aug. 29, 2017, shows a board meeting of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee at the National Training Center in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Roh claimed that officials close to current KSOC President Lee Kee-heung, who previously headed the KSF, benefited the most. Roh also called on the sports ministry to conduct an audit on the KSOC.

The KSOC, however, denied that commuting punishments has anything to do with Lee or its board, saying that the decision was made by an independent committee promoting fair play. The KSOC also said in addition to former KSF executives, officials from other sports received pardons after they went through the committee's screening. (Yonhap)