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SWEDISH PROBE INTO `BRIBE? CLAIMS OVER OLYMPIC BID

Director of Prosecution Christer van der Kwast said that media reports and other, undisclosed information had prompted him on Monday to reopen the file, which he had closed in the spring without finding grounds for charges.
He said the probe again focused on businessman Olof Stenhammar, chairman of a company which is trying to take over the London Stock Exchange, and “people around him”. Stenhammar was president of Stockholm’s Olympic bid committee.
Van der Kwast said he was investigating unconfirmed reports $50,000 had been withdrawn from Stenhammar’s account and taken to Switzerland in September 1997 shortly before the IOC in Lausanne voted on the 2004 venue.
“It is in this situation that we are interested in possible bribery,” van der Kwast said. “I don’t want to point fingers at this stage. We start with an open mind. They may have a perfectly good explanation.”
Stenhammar, who is chairman of Swedish bourse operator OM Gruppen, which is making a hostile bid for the London Stock Exchange, said he welcomed the investigation, but declined to comment further.
Stenhammar has said the money was intended for a family holiday in Nepal, which was later cancelled.
If charged and found guilty he could face a prison sentence.
“(The charge) is quite serious. The maximum penalty is two years in prison,” van der Kwast said.
Stockholm dropped out of the bidding for the 2004 games after the third round of voting in 1997. Athens eventually beat Rome for the right to hold the event.
The IOC has been battling to improve its image since the biggest bribery scandal in its history erupted at the end of 1998 when 10 members were forced to leave for accepting gifts from Salt Lake City during its successful bid for the 2002 winter games.
Reuters