NEWS

ATHOC head: All was legal

Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, head of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee yesterday responded to criticism in an audit of the Olympic organizers’ financial affairs in 2001, saying that everything had been done according to Greek and EU law. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who heads ATHOC, and Managing Director Yiannis Spanoudakis, accompanied by three ATHOC lawyers, held a news conference to answer the claims made in a report by a three-judge auditing committee that was given to members of Parliament on Wednesday night. Two retired judges – Giorgios Kokolakis and Panayiotis Paraskevopoulos, former chairman and member, respectively, of the audit committee – claim they were sacked because they blew the whistle on alleged misuse of funds with this audit. The third member, E. Rondoyiannis, who voted against the 2001 report’s findings, remains on the committee. Among other things, the audit claims overgenerous salaries for staff, chaotic hiring practices and delayed signing of contracts. Angelopoulos-Daskalaki said the audit was only the legal opinion of two members of the committee and was only one of three levels of oversight. «ATHOC has answered all the observations in the report of two members of the committee,» she said. «All our actions were within a strict legal framework and it is the first time in Olympic Games history that both national law and EU regulations were adhered to,» she added. «In view of the public accounting that ATHOC will give, we will leave no doubts regarding transparency.» Spanoudakis said all contracts with sponsors were signed before the Games began. He said also that salaries were high because «we had chosen to carry out unique Games and needed people with talent and experience.»