By Tom Degun in Baku

AIBA_logoSeptember 23 - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) are set to look into the serious allegations made by BBC Newsnight that Azerbaijan has paid millions of dollars to the International Boxing Association (AIBA) for two boxing gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics.

The accusations suggest that Ivan Khodabakhsh, the chief operating officer of the AIBA-owed competition Word Series Boxing (WSB), facilitated the payment from an individual in Azerbaijan of $9 million (£6 million/€7.5 million) to his organisation in exchange for the London 2012 gold medals.

AIBA President CK Wu had described the allegations are "totally untrue and ludicrous" but said that AIBA has a zero tolerance policy on corruption and that his organisation will conduct an immediate investigation into the allegations.

The move has been welcomed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who said they will be closely monitoring the situation.

"We welcome AIBA's announcement of an immediate enquiry into these claims and we await the outcome of their investigation," said the IOC Director of Communications Mark Adams.

"For its part the IOC takes all allegations of corruption very seriously and we would urge the BBC to make any evidence they have available to AIBA and to our Ethics Commission which will then determine if further action is necessary.

"We would also note that the judging process in boxing as in other sports at the Games are transparent and open to public scrutiny and a number of sports including boxing have made significant changes to their procedures in recent years to deal with any potential issues."

C_K_Wu_at_WSB_announcementThe allegations are a serious blow to Wu (pictured with Khodabakhsh), who is himself a senior IOC member with ambitions of succeeding current IOC President Jacques Rogge.

The Taiwanese was re-elected for a second-term as AIBA President in November last year and has been at pains to show that he has spent the last four years helping to clean up the sport following the controversial rule of former President Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan.

Chowdhry was President of the AIBA from 1986 to 2006 before he was finally dethroned by Wu but he was plagued by after allegations of corruption throughout his time in charge and was banned for life by the organisation in 2008 shortly before he died of illness in 2010.

"I want you to know how much effort I put in to clean the house," Wu said.

"Four vice-presidents, a secretary general, six members of the executive committee, all expelled because of wrongdoing.

"Any corruption or manipulation is totally unacceptable.

"We have been cleaning the house for the last four years.

"I can guarantee you AIBA, like the other international federations, is fighting corruption."

A spokesperson for the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE), which is affiliated to AIBA, said: "We are surprised by the allegations.

"We support AIBA's zero tolerance position on corruption and its decision to hold an investigation."

The move also comes at the worst possible time for AIBA with the 2011 World Championships – the biggest competition in the sport outside the Olympics – set to take place here next week in the Azerbaijani capital.

The competition is a qualifier for the London 2012 Olympic Games but the British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) which manages the elite GB Boxing programme for the Olympic Games, said the allegations will have no bearing of the British fighters competing in Baku.

"Our boxers and coaches are focused solely on competing at the World Championships and will not allow this issue to distract their preparations," said a BABA spokesperson.

"The squad has performed very well in competitions in 2011 and aims to continue its excellent run."

Before the Championships begins next week, AIBA will host a scheduled an Extraordinary Congress ahead of the competition here tomorrow (September 24) which is now certaim to be dominated by these allegations.

The allegations are also set to overshadow Baku's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

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