The IOC is asking the head of the Vancouver Olympics for more details on his claims of a deal with Russia during the bidding for the 2010 Winter Games.
John Furlong, who led Vancouver's winning bid and headed the 2010 organizing committee, says in a new book that a deal with Moscow's mayor may have been instrumental in swinging votes in Canada's favour.
The disclosure in Furlong's memoirs raises the spectre of possible violations of International Olympic Committee ethics and bidding rules.
"There is no investigation by the ethics commission at the present time," International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "However, having now read the book, we have written to John Furlong to ask him if he can give us more specifics on the claims made."
Furlong was not available for comment Wednesday but he did release a statement.
"As I stated in the book, every decision we made during the bid — including who to talk to, where, when, and why — was taken with a view to fully respecting the IOC rules," Furlong said.
His book — Patriot Hearts: Inside the Olympics That Changed a Country — was released in Canada on Feb. 12, the first anniversary of the Vancouver Games.
"The Russians would be crucial to our bid," Furlong wrote.
The book says Furlong and another bid official, Bob Storey, met with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov in his office near Red Square ahead of the IOC vote in Prague, Czech Republic, in June 2003. Luzhkov was a leader of Moscow's bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics.
"Luzhkov said the country wanted our help with the planning of its bid," Furlong wrote. "We talked about the deal we had earlier worked out with Russian officials."
The book said the deal involved the Vancouver bidding team arranging a special bidding workshop for the Russians in exchange for votes from Russia's IOC members.
"There was certainly nothing illegal or unethical about it," Furlong wrote. "When we shook hands I never doubted for a second Luzhkov would be good for his word."
Vancouver beat Pyeongchang, South Korea, in the final round of the IOC vote, 56-53.\
"Among others, the book's stories include the account of a meeting with Moscow Mayor Luzhkov as part of our efforts to ensure we had discussed and highlighted the merits of our 2010 Games bid with people who were non-IOC voting members and were nonetheless prominent in sport and political circles, knowing that this was fully legitimate activity under the IOC rules," Furlong said in his statement.
"Whenever possible, we also agreed to assist cities that were bidding for future Games. Our bid team was entirely scrupulous and ethical in all of our meetings and undertakings in advance of the vote. At all times we were well aware of and compliant with IOC ethics and rules for bidding cities and would have never jeopardized our bid by acting otherwise.
"I have already spoken with the IOC this week to provide context to the book in this regard and to confirm our compliance with IOC ethics and bidding rules and will follow up with them [in] writing."
In 2005, Moscow lost in the first ballot of the voting for the 2012 Games, which were awarded to London.
IOC bidding rules state that "no promise of any kind of advantage may be made."
The IOC set up an ethics commission and adopted strict rules following the Salt Lake City bidding scandal in 1999. Ten IOC members resigned or were expelled for receiving cash, lavish gifts and other improper inducements during the Utah city's winning bid for the 2002 Winter Games.
In the book, Furlong also writes of the death of Georgian luger Nomar Kumaritashvili, who was killed in a training crash on the Whistler track a few hours before the opening ceremony. The book reveals the athlete's family received US$150,000 in insurance money after his death.