Corruption was present at the highest level of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) under the tenure of its former president, Tamás Aján, according to the findings of an independent investigation commissioned by the organisation.
The report of the four-month investigation, led by Richard McLaren and released on Thursday, found that Aján, who resigned as the IWF’s president in April, had operated “a culture of fear” at the organisation, interfering in the federation’s anti-doping efforts and pursuing “absolute control” over its finances.
Aján served as the IWF’s general secretary for 24 years and its president since 2000.
Aján Resigns as IWF Chief Following Doping and Corruption Allegations
He decided to step down in January for the duration of the independent investigation into allegations of graft levelled against him in a documentary broadcast by German state broadcaster ARD earlier that month.
The documentary said weightlifting was fraught with systematic doping in the full knowledge of the IWF which had commissioned the Hungarian anti-doping body (MACS) with supervising all large-scale competitions and almost all world championships. The film also alleged that since 1992, 23 million dollars have been transferred to two Swiss bank accounts connected to Aján, with no record of the monies on the IWF ledgers.
In a statement later on Thursday, Aján called the accusations “baseless”, saying he had “complied with the law and the written and unspoken rules of the sport.” He fully cooperated with McLaren’s inquiry, and yet failed to receive the “necessary information” to debunk the allegations, he said.
Featured photo via IWF’s Facebook page