4 Jun 2020
McLaren Independent Weightlifting Investigation : Independent Investigator Report to the Oversight and Integrity Commission of International Weightlifiting Federation / Richard H. McLaren; McLaren Independent Investigation Team (MIIT). - Toronto : McLaren Global Sport Solutions, 2020
On 5 January 2020 the German television network, ARD aired the program “Der Herr de Heber” (The Lord of the Lifters), a documentary film by Hajo Seppelt, Nick Butler and Gritt Hartmann (the ARD Documentary). The documentary claimed the leadership of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), including President Tamás Aján (Dr. Aján) participated in or had knowledge of numerous irregularities occurring within the IWF. The allegations related to corruption, financial irregularities, property investment, doping control testing and sample manipulation combined with doping fine payment irregularities. There were also suggestions of favouritism and the deliberate undermining of certain Member Federations accomplished through cronyism and nepotism.
This Report contains the outcomes, background and detailed findings of the investigation conducted by the McLaren Independent Investigation Team (MIIT) under the direction of and by the Independent Investigator Richard H. McLaren appointed by the IWF’s Executive Board and the Acting President, through the Oversight and Integrity Commission (O&I Commission).
Key Findings of the Report:
1.) Dr. Aján’s autocratic authoritarian leadership of the International Weightlifting Federation resulted in a dysfunctional, ineffective oversight of the organisation by the Executive Board, which had an ill-informed understanding of the organisation. This was achieved through various control mechanisms. As a consequence, Dr. Aján disabled anyone other than himself from understanding the overall affairs of the IWF.
2.) The foundational control mechanism used by Dr. Aján was the tyranny of cash. Cash collected, cash withdrawn, and cash unaccounted for, which Dr. Aján was the sole collector. The primary sources of this cash were doping fines paid personally to the President and cash withdrawals of large amounts from the IWF’s accounts, usually withdrawn before major competitions or IWF congresses. It is absolutely impossible to determine how much of the cash collected or withdrawn was used for legitimate expenses. The McLaren Independent Investigation Team has determined that $10.4 million USD is unaccounted for.
3.) Weightlifting has a history of use of performance enhancing drugs. Over 600 lifters in the past decade have tested positive. While Dr. Aján has impermissibly interfered with the IWF Anti-Doping Commission, the real problem is the culture of doping that exists in the sport. The investigation uncovered 40 positive Adverse Analytical Findings hidden in the IWF records. This includes gold and silver medalists who have not had their samples dealt with. This information has been passed on to WADA for further investigation.
4.) HUNADO is not the cause of doping sample manipulation or hidden results. It has operated in compliance with WADA standards. The investigation found that the procedures followed by Doping Control Officer Barbara Kallo were correct and in accordance with the WADA Code. The source of antidoping issues that have plagued the IWF and sport of weightlifting lie elsewhere. HUNADO and its DCOs are not the cause of the positive testing results or the alleged influence on weightlifters to be tested.
5.) The financial records are a jumble of incomplete and inaccurate figures distorted by a failure to accurately record cash expenditures and revenues and disclose hidden bank accounts by Dr. Aján.
6.) The two most recent Electoral Congresses were rampant with vote buying for the President and senior level positions of the Executive Board, despite monitoring. Such actions are a fundamental violation of the sport’s By-Laws on Disciplinary and Ethics Procedures.
Chapter 1: Executive Summary of this Report
A. IMMEDIATE ACTION
B. OVERALL RECOMMENDATIONS
- i. Constitutional Reform
- ii. Electoral Reform
- iii. Financial Reform
- iv. Governance Reform
- v. Anti-doping Control Reform
Chapter 2: The Dr. Aján Presidency
2.1 Constitutional Structure & Hierarchy of IWF
2.2 A Half-Century of Unfettered Autonomous Control
2.3 Presidential Coercion
- i. Cash Control
- ii. Redundant Treasurer
- iii. Exclusive Financial Control
- iv. EB Approval Without Questions
- v. Cash for votes: Rigging Electoral Congresses
- vi. The Presidentially Anointed Executive Board
- vii. The IWF’s Secretariat
- viii. Cash from Doping Fines
2.4 Infiltration of the Anti-Doping Control Program
Chapter 3: The Hijacking of Financial Control
Chapter 4: Electoral Corruption - Cash for Votes
4.2 Preparations for the Electoral Congress
4.3 How a Presidency is Bought
Chapter 5: Anti-Doping Over the Decades
5.2 The 1980s & 1990s
5.3 Weightlifting Scandals Morphed into the Twenty-first Century
5.4 A Dirty Decade in the Twenty-first Century
5.5 Legal Structure and Operation of the Anti-Doping Commission
5.6 Presidential Meddling in Antidoping
5.6.1 Test Distribution Plans
5.6.2 Interference in Results Management
- i. Delay of Results Management: A Case Study of Azeri Lifters .
- ii. Missing Positives Results
5.7 Doping Fines
5.8 Role of HUNADO
- i. HUNADO at Houston World Championships 2015
- ii. Suspicious Out-of-Competition Test Results prior to Houston