A. Jennings: Slavkov is Embarrassment for Bulgaria

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | August 6, 2004, Friday // 00:00
A. Jennings: Slavkov is Embarrassment for Bulgaria Andrew Jennings

Andrew Jennings is consultant to BBC documentary "Buying the Games", which accuses Bulgarian IOC member Ivan Slavkov of inappropriate conduct in the 2012 Olympic bidding process and vote-purchasing. Jennings works for British and foreign press, TV and radio as an investigative reporter, presenter, producer, consultant and commentator. He has published three books about investigating the International Olympic Committee - 1992: The Lords of the Rings, 1996: The New Lords of the Rings: Olympic Corruption & How to Buy Gold Medals, 2000: The Great Olympic Swindle.

Andrew Jennings answered questions of Novinite.com Editor-in-Chief Milena Hristova

Q: How do you view threats that the bidding scandal case would be brought to court?

A: This is ridiculous! I was astonished, amused and depressed when I saw the first response of Slavkov's spokesman to the programme. He called it a provocation, an attempt to deny Sofia the Winter Games of 2014. How serious! Have you ever been to London? It is not very hilly, we don't get snow and we don't get ice.

It was a long, long time before Slavkov said: "Oh yes, I remember now what I was doing! I was setting a trap with Goran to these wicked people."

This is what he should have said first.

He could have taken a tape-recorder and he could have taped anything to expose them. He did not do it and it is more embarrassment for Bulgaria.

Q: What developments do you expect in this scenario?

A: IOC President Jacques Rogge should tell the Committee this week to suspend Slavkov because he is an embarrassment, an abuse of sports, abuse of people's money. I am not sure whether the IOC is informed enough to get rid of these crooks.

Q: Is it legitimate for British investigative journalists to use covert cameras?

A: Yes, but under certain circumstances. There is a justification as long as you have an ethical company with strong management control to make sure it is not abuse.

I think the BBC are very good and ethical broadcasting corporation of great quality and morality. Producers, reporters would come to their editors and say the only way is to get the highlighted allegations is secret filming. The editor would take it upstairs and up to the top of the BBC.

The BBC are very cautious and would not let any journalist just go out and do the secret filming. You have to argue a very strong and detailed case for using this kind of intrusion. They did it and look what they have got! But we knew the names - they were all in the Salt Lake City inquiry!

The BBC were also right about Tony Blair and the reasons for the war in Iraq . They paid a very high price for that.

Q: Will BBC muck-raking cost London 2012 vital votes?

A: It has probably ended it!

Q: How would you comment the fact that Ivan Slavkov is the only IOC member, implicated by the film?

A: The journalists can't get a list of thirty corrupt members and force them in front of a secret camera. If Slavkov were not so greedy, he would have said to Goran to do it himself in his role of a middleman. Slavkov was so greedy that he exposed himself.

In the film Goran Takac goes for a list of about thirty-five IOC members that he said would take money. Quite properly the BBC took those names out because these would have been allegations without proof.

Q: What if IOC decides Slavkov has nothing to do in that leadership any more, as suggested by the chairman of the German Olympic Committee?

A: He must be commended for speaking out because OIC members all over the world are hiding under their beds, they do not want to be in public and refuse to talk. The people from the British Olympic Association won't say a word and I despise them for that.

Q: The BBC reportedly came under pressure not to air the scandalous documentary?

A: This is nonsense.

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