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Federal probe of Salt Lake Olympic bid 'pretty wide'

graphic

February 18, 1999
Web posted at: 9:01 p.m. EST (0201 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Justice Department investigation into possible criminal activity associated with Salt Lake City's bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics is "pretty wide," a top department official says.

"We have a pretty substantial presence out there in terms of lawyers and investigators," said Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder. "It's something that is being actively reviewed, and we're seeking to get information from a variety of sources, among them the other investigations that are being done."

In addition to the Justice Department, allegations surrounding Salt Lake City's bid are being looked into by the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee. An independent ethics panel commissioned by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) issued a report on its investigation last week.

InteractiveINTERACTIVE:
The scandal: A closer look

Holder did not dispute a report that the Justice Department task force investigating the Salt Lake City bid now includes four full-time prosecutors and 15 FBI agents.

"There is a substantial presence out there, and the scope of the investigation is pretty wide," he said.

Even such general comments about the probe are uncharacteristic. Justice Department officials have remained extremely tight-lipped about the extent of the investigation.

Sources familiar with the probe say FBI agents are continuing to subpoena records and question individuals with possible knowledge of activities surrounding the bid. Sources say a variety of federal laws -- including bribery, extortion, mail fraud, money laundering and tax statutes -- are being reviewed for possible violations.

Members of the Salt Lake bid committee have been accused of doling out lavish gifts and cash to IOC members and their families before the 2002 Games were awarded to the Utah capital.

Producer Terry Frieden contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
New Salt Lake Olympic leader vows clean Games
February 11, 1999
Olympic organizers reorganize
February 10, 1999
Top Salt Lake Olympic boosters condemned in ethics report
February 9, 1999
Olympics ethics report shows top level 'pattern of deception'
February 8, 1999
Inmates say Utah is 'a great escape'
February 7, 1999
Report: Air tickets hid Olympic payoffs
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Salt Lake Olympics ethics report due next week
February 3, 1999

RELATED SITES:
U.S. Department of Justice U.S. General Accounting Office
International Olympic Committee
U.S. Olympic Committee: USOC Online - The Olympics
Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002
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