July 3 - A commission set-up by the Dutch Olympic Committee and Royal Netherlands Speedskating Association has found that one of its skaters, Gretha Smit - or a member of her entourage - did offer a Polish rival €50,000 (£41,000/$63,000) to drop out of a race at the 2006 Olympics in Turin.

Katarzyna Wojcicka, who turned down the offer, brought the allegation to light in December 2009 when she claimed she had been offered the money to withdraw from the 5,000 metres so that Smit, who was the first reserve, could compete.

The commission said it had "factually proved" the allegation.

It reported that Smit, the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic silver medallist, gave Wojcicka a letter "on which an amount of 50,000 [Euros] stood," and that her coach, Ingrid Paul, had verbally mentioned a similar amount.

Smit and Paul, who went on to coach with Speed Skating Canada, have both protested their innocence.

"It appears that the Olympic values so important to us, such as fair play and respect, have been violated," Dutch Olympic committee director Gerard Dielessen said in a statement.

They said they would take several weeks to consider sanctions.

The Commission's conclusions said that other people were probably involved - including national coach Ab Krook - but Krook denied all allegations and others have refused to come forward.

"The Commission believes that Smit was not the main player and Paul was possibly more important, though she denies this," it said.

Wojcicka finished 16th and last in the 5,000m in Turin.

Smit, who has since retired from speedskating, did not race.

Smit has denied involvement.

Last year, Paul denied any attempt at bribery, but conceded she did try to get Smit a starting place.

"I wouldn't know where I could get that kind of money," she said.

"The only thing I can remember is that we asked all countries at the time if they had somebody who might want to give up their place in the five kilometres so Gretha could take their place."

It is the second bribery scandal to hit speed skating in less than two months.

In May, South Korea banned two short-track speed skaters, including double Vancouver Olympic gold medallist Lee Jung-su and silver medallist Kwak Yoon-gy from the sport for three years for allegedly helping to rig competitions and national team trials in March.

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