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Kim Un-yong resigns from top IOC post

May 21, 2005

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LONDON, May 20: Jailed vice-president Kim Un-yong has resigned from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IOC said on Friday. “The International Olympic Committee today announced that Mr Un Yong Kim has decided to forfeit his title of IOC member,” the IOC said in a statement on its website.

“In a letter dated 9 May, and received today by the IOC, Mr Kim informs the IOC President that he resigns from the IOC Vice-Presidency and membership.

“The IOC Executive Board recognised Mr Kim’s resignation which thereby ends the expulsion procedure.”

The South Korean, who was facing explusion after being found guilty on corruption charges in his homeland, decided to resign rather than face an expulsion vote in July, an IOC source said on Friday.

The IOC’s decision-making executive board agreed earlier this year with an ethics commission’s report that the 74-year-old had “seriously tarnished the reputation of the Olympic movement”.

Kim’s fellow IOC members had been due to vote on his expulsion at their session in July.

Kim has always denied the charges against him. His resignation means the affair is closed as far as the IOC is concerned and all action against him has been stopped.

The IOC’s executive board is expected to release a statement later on Friday.

In March, Kim had still been determined to clear his name within the IOC. He had hoped to attend July’s meeting or, if he had not been released from prison in time, have the vote postponed.

Kim’s daughter Helen made the plea for a defence in person in a letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge.

Defenders of Kim, who would have been the most important IOC member to be stripped of his position had be been voted out, say the decision to charge him was based on political grounds and part of a personal vendetta.

Kim’s appeal against his jail sentence for corruption was rejected by South Korea’s Supreme Court in January.

Marking the end of the road for further appeals, the country’s top court decided to uphold his two-year jail term and a fine of $760,800.

Kim had originally been sentenced to 2-1/2 years but it was cut to two years in September after an appeal to a lower court.

One of the most powerful officials in the IOC, Kim was arrested while in hospital a year ago on charges connected with his leadership of the South Korean National Olympic Committee and the World Taekwondo Federation.

When he was sentenced last June, his lawyer said his actions and business conduct were rooted in South Korea’s dictatorship period of the 1970s and 1980s and it was unfair to judge him by present-day values.—Reuters