Vienna: International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) president Tamas Ajan on Thursday blasted as “slanderous” and “unjust” accusations of corruption and doping which have besieged his organisation.
“The IWF reserves the right to take legal action against anyone who spreads lies or slander,” said the 80-year-old Hungarian in a statement to national news agency MTI.
It was in response to allegations made last Sunday by German broadcaster ARD.
“ARD says weightlifting is a sport where millions go missing — it's just not true,” added Ajan, who said he “awaits evidence” of the claims.
ARD, who broke the story on Russia's infamous state doping scandal, claimed prominent weightlifters were rarely subject to drugs tests, while some controllers were allegedly taking cash to accept manipulated urine samples.
The programme also cited documents allegedly showing at least $5 million in funding flowing from the IOC to the IWF were transferred into two Swiss accounts, of which only federation president Ajan had oversight
It amounted to what ARD described as a “culture of corruption”.
“It should be stressed that yes, there are two bank accounts, but neither is secret,” added Ajan, who considers himself the victim of an “unjust attack”.
“All members of the board were aware of it, I am joint signatory along with the head secretary-treasurer, while three other board members have signatory rights at the bank”.
Ajan added in an interview: “This film has completely ruined my life and 50 years of my work. A large part of my work has been about doping prevention. That's why it was a blow to the gut for them to claim we had done nothing. Even (International Olympic Committee president) Thomas Bach said what great anti-doping work is being done by the IWF.”Earlier this week, the IOC described the accusations as very serious and worrying.”
The World Anti-Doping Agency said its independent investigations department “is aware of all the allegations” and would continue to look into “potential breaches” of the anti-doping code.
In the aftermath of the broadcast, the IWF said it had been “maliciously targeted”.