Palace denies IOC wrongdoing by Prince Albert
The Royal Palace in Monaco has denied allegations by a former
employee that Prince Albert II broke IOC rules during Russia’s
winning bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Robert Eringer, an American who claims he worked as the prince’s
intelligence adviser, alleged Tuesday that Albert accepted ”lavish
gifts and trips” from Vladimir Putin and Russia before and after
Sochi was awarded the games by the IOC three years ago.
Eringer made the accusations in a letter sent by his lawyer to
International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge. Albert has
been an IOC member since 1985 and competed in five Winter Olympics
as part of Monaco’s bobsled team.
Eringer is suing Albert in a California court, claiming breach
of contract and seeking back pay. He urged the IOC to hold an
ethics investigation into the allegations, which were first
published in The Independent on Sunday newspaper in Britain.
”The Royal Palace of Monaco categorically denies the false
allegations of Mr. Eringer against His Royal Highness Prince Albert
II,” the palace said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated
Press on Wednesday.
”An IOC member for more than 25 years, the monarch has worked
tirelessly to promote sport around the world and to defend its
The IOC declined to say whether its ethics commission would look
into the case.
”We take note of the allegations – and understand that there is
an ongoing court case between Prince Albert and a former employee –
and therefore we will at present refrain from further comment,”
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.
The letter sent to Rogge by Eringer’s California lawyer, Brigham
J. Ricks, claims there is ”ample evidence demonstrating that
Prince Albert has egregiously violated the IOC code of ethics and
rules on conflicts of interest.” A copy of the letter was obtained
by the AP.
Messages left for Ricks and Albert’s American lawyer, Stanley S.
Arkin, were not returned.
Sochi defeated Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Salzburg, Austria,
in the IOC vote in Guatemala City in July 2007. The Russian bid
beat Pyeongchang 51-47 in the final round, a victory widely
credited to Putin, who traveled to Guatemala to lobby IOC members
and speak at the presentation.
Eringer claims he served as Albert’s intelligence adviser from
2002-08. He said he ran the ”Monaco Intelligence Service” with
the task of rooting out corruption in the principality, which is
located near the southern French city of Nice. He has claimed that
his work ended in March 2007, with no formal termination notice,
and that he continued his job.
Eringer’s letter claims he dealt with a ”growing invasion of
Russian organized crime and corrupt officials pouring into Monaco
and influencing its politics.” It claims he warned Albert about
alleged Russian organized crime figures trying to influence
The letter says Albert went on a trip to the North Pole in April
2006 that was organized by Russia, and that, at the end of the
expedition, Putin hosted the prince at a state dinner at the
Kremlin. Following the trip, Russia provided the workers a new
three-bedroom ”dacha” built for Albert on the outskirts of
Monaco, Eringer alleges.
A month after Sochi’s victory in the IOC vote, Putin invited
Albert to Russia for a fishing trip that was widely seen as a
gesture of thanks for his support for the Olympic bid.
”Mr. Eringer stands ready to cooperate with any IOC
investigation and to provide further testimony and evidence as
requested,” the letter said.
The IOC ethics commission was set up after the Salt Lake City
bidding scandal in 1999, in which ten members resigned or were
expelled for accepting cash, scholarships, medical treatment,
gifts, travel and other inducements during the city’s winning bid
for the 2002 Winter Games.
Since then, the IOC has enforced tight rules banning member
visits to bid cities and limiting gifts to those of ”nominal
Eringer filed suit last year in California seeking $59,600 in
back pay. Arkin then filed a motion to dismiss the suit, which he
called ”redolent of a crude ‘shakedown’ or blatant
AP Sports Writer Samuel Petrequin in Paris contributed to this