By Duncan Mackay

International Handball_Federation_logoNovember 22 - The International Handball Federation (IHF), currently at the centre of bribery and corruption allegations over the awarding of multi-million dollar television contracts, have claimed that neither they nor their President Hassan Moustafa have done anything wrong and described the whole affair as "unpleasant".

Prosecutors in Hamburg suspect that Moustafa improperly received €602,000 (£515,000/$830,000) in consulting fees in 2007.

Moustafa's home in Rheinfelden, Switzerland, and IHF offices in nearby Basel were raided earlier this month  by Swiss authorities following a German request.

But the IHF Executive Committee, following their meeting in Vienna, have claimed that they have already dealt with the allegations, which first surfaced in German magazine Der Speigel last year. 

They had alleged that the money that Moustafa received was actually paid to him in gesture of the television rights, which Sportfive had bought for a reported CH30 million (£21 million/$33 million/€24 million).

At the conclusion of Sportfive's contract a new deal was signed with another German marketing company, UFA, for a reported CH60 million (£41 million/$65 million/€48 million).

Both deals were negotiated with Robert Mueller von Vultejus, who worked for Sportfive before leaving to join UFA.

It was the UFA deal that authorities were most interested in, according to the IHF.

"On Wednesday 9th November, the IHF was visited by authorities in order to investigate the allegation about the possibility of involvement of the IHF President in irregularities concerning the TV rights contract for the period 2009-2013," they said in a statement.

"The main concern of the police were the documents related to the awarding of the TV rights to UFA.

"The office supported the police officers to get all the information required in hard and soft copies.

"The TV contract was concluded through a transparent tender process where several offers were presented in sealed envelopes addressed to the IHF marketing company and collected by the IHF marketing employees.

"The sealed envelopes, bearing the IHF stamp showing the date and time of reception, were kept sealed until the date of the Executive Committee meeting.

"The sealed envelopes were presented by the IHF marketing employee to the Executive Committee during their 1st meeting in June on the fringes of the 2009 IHF Congress in Egypt.

"The envelopes were opened by the Executive Committee during this meeting where among four submitted offers, UFA's offer was selected with the best financial conditions.

"The IHF is communicating in close cooperation with the authorities in order to guarantee the availability of all relevant documents and provide adequate answers to any questions that may arise during the investigation process.

"We, the IHF, strongly support this investigation in order to finalise these unpleasant allegations and to continue the successful path of the handball development."

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