Palace denies IOC wrongdoing by Prince Albert

Prince Albert II allegedly accepted "lavish gifts and trips" from Russian PM.

Updated: Dec 16, 2010, 13:03 PM IST

London: The Royal Palace in Monaco denied allegations by a former employee that Prince Albert II broke IOC ethics rules during Russia`s winning bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Robert Eringer, an American who claims he worked as the prince`s intelligence adviser, alleged that Albert accepted "lavish gifts and trips" from Vladimir Putin and Russia before and after Sochi was awarded the games by the IOC three years ago.

Eringer made the accusations in a letter sent by his lawyer to International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

Albert has been an IOC member since 1985 and competed in five Winter Olympics as part of Monaco`s bobsled team.

Eringer is suing Albert in a California court, claiming breach of contract and seeking back pay.

Eringer urged the IOC to hold an ethics investigation into his allegations, which were first published in The Independent on Sunday newspaper in Britain.

"The Royal Palace of Monaco categorically denies the false allegations of Mr Eringer against His Royal Highness Prince Albert II," the palace said in a statement e-mailed to a news agency yesterday.

"An IOC member for more than 25 years, the monarch has worked tirelessly to promote sport around the world and to defend its values."

The IOC declined to say whether its ethics commission would look into the case.

"We take note of the allegations and understand that there is an ongoing court case between Prince Albert and a former employee and therefore we will at present refrain from further comment," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

The letter sent to Rogge by Eringer`s California lawyer, Brigham J Ricks, claims there is "ample evidence demonstrating that Prince Albert has egregiously violated the IOC code of ethics and rules on conflicts of interest”.

Phone messages left for Ricks and Albert`s American lawyer, Stanley S Arkin, were not immediately returned. Sochi defeated Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Salzburg, Austria, in the IOC host-city vote in Guatemala City in July 2007.

The Russian bid beat Pyeongchang 51-47 in the final round. The victory was widely credited to Putin, who travelled to Guatemala to lobby IOC members and speak at the final presentation.