International Weightlifting Federation will sue anyone spreading lies: Tamas Ajan

The ARD claimed prominent weightlifters were rarely subjected to drugs tests, while some controllers were allegedly taking cash to accept manipulated urine samples.

Representative Image: The ARD programme, made by the same investigators who unearthed the Russian doping scandal in 2014, also alleged that some weightlifters secretly paid testers in exchange for “clean” tests.   -  AP

International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) president Tamas Ajan on Thursday blasted “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 subjected to drugs tests, while some controllers were allegedly taking cash to accept manipulated urine samples.

'Culture of corruption'

The programme also cited documents allegedly showing at least $5 million (4.5 million euros) in funding from the IOC to the International Weightlifting Federation was transferred into two Swiss accounts of which only the IWF president, Tamas 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”.

Maliciously targeted

Ajan added in an interview with Hungarian media: “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”.