Lord Coe's fury as documentary says he tried to build financial links with owner of the Dome


Last updated at 22:22 08 September 2007

A Channel 4 documentary being broadcast tomorrow is expected to allege that Lord Coe tried to establish a financial relationship with the controversial owner of the Millennium Dome - which will host two events during the London Games.

The Dispatches programme says it has documents showing that a company chaired by Coe had been hired as a consultant to Philip Anschutz to help him bid for major sports events.

The Dome, owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), will be the venue for basketball and gymnastics in 2012.

Last night, Coe's lawyers angrily rebutted the claims, saying that although Coe's company had "initial discussions" with AEG, the 'opportunity was not progressed' and no money changed hands.

Lord Coe established his Complete Leisure Group (CLG) just two weeks after successfully spearheading Britain's bid in July 2005.

The company includes health clubs, a magazine and a firm called Premier Sport, which provides coaching to primary school pupils.

A confidential internal company document, dated 2006, obtained by Dispatches says the directors of CLG "believe that the chairman, Lord Coe, and the management team are establishing a well-connected international company".

It goes on to state that CLG "has been retained as a consultant to AEG to provide strategic advice on bidding for major sports and other events at a fee of £60,000 over three months. AEG are considering building a strategic alliance in which the company will provide advice to AEG across aspects of their sports and leisure development".

Last night, a spokeswoman for Lord Coe said the decision to award the two events to the Dome had been approved by Coe during the bid process "at some time between 2003 and 2005", pre-dating the 2006 document. No deal had been made with AEG, she said.

She added that the document had been written by an employee who had since left the company, and had not been approved by the board.

She was unable to explain the mention of a £60,000 fee.

"Although CLG had initial discussions with AEG, the opportunity was not progressed by CLG and AEG made no payment to CLG," she said.

"Seb has meticulously registered his outside business interests with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, London 2012 and the International Olympic Committee."

Mr Anschutz was at the centre of controversy in 2006 when it was revealed the then Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott had met him a number of times as the Dome was hoping to acquire a Government licence for a supercasino.

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