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Senior Ukrainian Olympic official suspended after ticket row

updated 1:34 PM EDT, Wed May 23, 2012
Sergey Bubka, president of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee, has suspended an official over ticket fraud claims
Sergey Bubka, president of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee, has suspended an official over ticket fraud claims
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Senior member of Ukraine National Olympic Committee (UNOC) suspended
  • Volodymyr Gerashchenko said to have agreed to sell 100 Games tickets on black market
  • Gerashchenko suspended by UNOC president Sergey Bubka Wednesday

(CNN) -- Ukraine has suspended one of their top Olympic officials after an investigation alleged he was willing to sell up to 100 tickets for the London Games on the black market.

A probe by the BBC, a British broadcaster, made the claims about Volodymyr Gerashchenko, a senior member of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee (UNOC).

Gerashchenko, who has been part of the UNOC since 1997, was told of his suspension Wednesday by president Sergey Bubka, the former pole vaulting legend.

A statement on UNOC's website quoyed Bubka as saying: "As President of the Ukraine NOC, I am committed to maintaining the highest standards and ethics within the Olympic Movement.

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I am deeply concerned about these allegations and I have ordered an immediate investigation in Ukraine
Sergey Bubka. Ukraine Olympic Committee president

"I am deeply concerned about these allegations and I have ordered an immediate investigation in Ukraine. I have briefly spoken with General Secretary Gerashchenko and informed him that he is suspended pending this investigation.

"I have also spoken to (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) chairman Sebastian Coe since I learnt of this news and informed him that I will ensure that we fully co-operate with any subsequent investigation that takes place in London.

"There has never been a situation where we have had a surplus number of tickets and those that we have received will all be distributed using official channels.

"London 2012 is going to be a spectacular celebration of sport and it is imperative that tickets are distributed to deserving recipients."

However, AFP reported that Bubka's deputy, Viktor Korzh, was dubious about the veracity of the BBC's claims.

"I still have great doubts about this and think that the whole story could come to nothing," he is said to have told reporters.

In their undercover operation, the BBC alleged Gerashchenko told a reporter he was willing to sell up to 100 tickets.

He said: "I understand you're a dealer -- that's why for me, you are priority number one, the top, the person, in case we have extra tickets to contact you, we contact you."

When the charges were put to him, he is said to have responded that he "never planned to sell tickets in the UK," and had been making "diplomatic talk to satisfy the persistent interest of the ticket dealer."

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