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Tale of Tape Catches IBF

Boxing: Officials shown handling alleged bribe money.

January 29, 2000|DAVID WHARTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Executives from the embattled International Boxing Federation have been videotaped handling alleged bribe money in a motel room, according to a source close to a long-running federal investigation.

The videotape, recorded by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, shows former IBF ratings chairman Doug Beavers pulling a roll of cash from his sock and handing it to President Robert Lee Sr.

Don Brennan, who served on the federation's executive board, was also present, the source said.

The evidence is among thousands of pages of sworn statements and hundreds of hours of audiotape and videotape collected by investigators for the U.S. attorney's criminal and civil cases against the IBF at a federal courthouse in Newark, N.J.

Responding to a motion filed by The Times, U.S. District Judge John W. Bissell unsealed the government's evidence Friday. The documents are not expected to become fully available until next week.

A source said the names of promoters Don King, Bob Arum and Cedric Kushner appear numerous times in the evidence but did not elaborate.

As one of the three major governing bodies in professional boxing, the IBF came under scrutiny last March after the first heavyweight championship bout between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. An IBF-appointed judge scored the bout for Holyfield in a controversial draw.

But prosecutors were acting on an unrelated probe when they accused IBF executives of soliciting and accepting $338,000 in bribes to fix rankings, the all-important standings that determine which boxers get big-money bouts.

An indictment last November alleged that seven promoters and managers made improper payments of between $1,000 and $100,000 on behalf of 23 boxers. Their identities, deleted from the indictment, are expected to be included in the unsealed evidence.

Lee, 65, has since taken a leave of absence from the federation he founded in 1983. He pleaded not guilty to 39 counts ranging from racketeering to money laundering and tax evasion.

Also charged were Brennan, former IBF representative Francisco Fernandez and Lee's son, Robert Jr. Beavers has not been charged.

A criminal trial could begin this spring. In the meantime, Bissell has appointed a monitor to oversee the IBF's business and boxing operations until further notice.

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