Thursday, July 19, 2012 -
The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Uzbekistan has removed a controversial figure from its membership for his alleged ties to the mafia, an Olympic-focused news agency reported on Thursday.
Gafur Rakhimov, who served as vice president of the NOC, is believed to be an Uzbek mafia boss with ties to drug trafficking, the Inside the Games news agency reported.
The NOC released a letter explaining their decision to remove Rakhimov from his post.
“On the basis of the authority provided by the NOC Statute and considering all the circumstances of the case, the Executive Committee of NOC Uzbekistan has made two decisions,” the letter reads.
“To terminate early the authority of Mr. Rakhimov as the vice-president of the NOC of Uzbekistan, [and] to become invalid the status of Mr. Rakhimov at the member of NOC of Uzbekistan.”
The 59-year-old Tashkent native also holds positions at the International Boxing Association and the Olympic Council of Asia, and has been publicly defended by Uzbek President Islam Karimov as having no ties to the drug trade. His tenure in these positions remains as of yet unaffected by the NOC decision.
Rakhimov was banned from entering Australia during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games for his suspected ties with the illegal drug industry in Central Asia.
The U.S. government, earlier in 2012, identified Rakhimov as a drug trafficker specializing in heroin trafficking.