By Tom Degun in Baku

C_K_Wu_at_Congress_Baku_September_23_2011September 24 - International Boxing Association (AIBA) President CK Wu made an emotional speech to the AIBA Member Federations at their Extraordinary Congress here today in which he vowed that that his organisation would come back fighting following allegations of corruption from BBC Newsnight.

They alleged that Azerbaijan had paid millions of dollars to AIBA with Ivan Khodabakhsh, the chief operating officer of the World Series of Boxing (WSB), facilitating the payment for $9 million (£6 million/€7.5 million) in exchange for two gold medals at London 2012.

Wu used the Extraordinary Congress to inform Member Federations that he has already set up an AIBA Special Investigation Committee to investigate the allegations which will be chaired by former USA Boxing President Tom Virgets, chairman of AIBA Disciplinary Commission.

Wu claimed that while this exemplifies AIBA's zero tolerance attitude to corruption, he also said that he is not aware of any credible evidence to suggest that the allegations against Khodabakhsh are true.

"AIBA must stand together in this turbulent time and we will come back fighting," a visibly upset Wu told the Congress here.

"We are boxers and that is what we do.

"These allegations are very serious because Ivan is a man of integrity and AIBA trusts him and respects his work.

"He will cooperate fully and freely with the AIBA Special Investigation Committee.

"I must say something about these allegations however.

"In 2010 an agreement was signed between WSB SA, a Swiss incorporated company which runs the World Series of Boxing competition under the auspices of the AIBA, and a Swiss company for a loan in respect of the operation of WSB's American franchises.

"The Swiss company facilitated the making of the loan, which originated from an Azerbaijani private investor.

"The loan was not secret and nor was there anything improper about it.

"It was an arm's length transaction between two entities made on a commercial basis and with a view to a commercial return for the investor.

"While that investor prefers not to be named, as is their right under the terms of the agreement, AIBA can confirm that it is a private investor and is not the Azerbaijani Government or the Azerbaijani Boxing Federation and that none of the funds were derived from the Azerbaijani Government.

"Any suggestion that the loan was made in return for promises of gold medals at the 2012 Olympics is, we repeat, preposterous and utterly untrue.

"Such allegations have been made by individuals against AIBA who are totally discredited.

"As well as unjustifiably imputing corruption to AIBA, they demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of the procedures which now lead to the award of Olympic boxing medals and the impossibility of influencing these.

"The AIBA Special Investigation Committee will start its work by asking the BBC to send them all the material on which they relied for the purposes of their programme, and they note that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, has also called for this, which they welcome."

The five-person Special Investigation Committee chaired by Virgets will also include AIBA Ethics Commission member Humbert Furgoni from France, AIBA Legal Counsel Ricardo Contreras from Mexico and AIBA Disciplinary Commission members Dennis O'Connell and Antonio de Guzman from Ireland and Spain respecitvely.

The naming of the Commission came as the IOC President said: "We welcome the inquiry by the AIBA and we have asked the BBC to provide evidence.

"We take every allegation very seriously."

Khodabakhsh has spoken out against the claims as he said: "The allegations that have been made against WSB and me are all completely groundless and false.

"I have never been asked to nor have I ever undertaken anything illegal or unethical in the course of my duties working for WSB.

"I am proud to work for an organisation which has brought such a high level of transparency and honesty to the sport of boxing and has shown zero tolerance of corruption.

"I adhere to these values."

The Azerbaijan Boxing Federation (ABF) have also disclaimed the accusations as they gear up to host the 2011 AIBA World Championships next week which acts as a qualifier for the London 2012 Olympics.

"Baku was entrusted with 2011 World Championships and the BBC report surfaced on the eve of the Championship, as competitors from all over the world converged on Baku," said an ABF statement.

"I think the report was made by Azerbaijan's enemies and the enemies of AIBA."

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