Agapitov celebrates the decision to overturn a ruling by the International Weightlifting Federation's Ethics and Disciplinary Commission. EWF

In September 2023, Maxim Agapitov overturned a previous decision by the International Weightlifting Federation's (IWF) Ethics and Disciplinary Commission at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

The president of the Russian Weightlifting Federation was reprimanded by the Commission in December 2021 and ordered to pay $7,000 (£5,589/€6,526) to Attila Adamfi, who was elected IWF Vice-President last June , for "reputational damage". The CAS ruled that the IWF's decision was unfounded.

This case was previously reported by The CAS decision in this case was never been published by the CAS Court Office, presumably because one of the parties insisted that the decision remain confidential. However it has been published by the USA based platform Before It's News. The decision allows us to shed a light on some interesting details.

It's well known that Professor Richard McLaren investigated the situation in weightlifting and presented his report to the IWF administration, but it was revealed that during the hearing that McLaren witnessed that he also wrote a second report which was not made public and remained confidential due to the sensitive nature of the information it contained.

Such a confidential report was sent only to the IWF and, in particular, to the Oversight and Integrity Commission appointed by the IWF Executive Board. We can only guess at the contents of this report and how many problems it could cause to the IWF officials if McLaren departed from his usual practice of full transparency in negotiations. 

According to Agapitov's statement to CAS, the McLaren Independent Investigation Team ("MIIT") report found the involvement of the former IWF President Tamás Aján and his son-in-law Adamfi, in his capacity as former IWF General Director, in various instances of vote-rigging and dubious financial practices. 

Adamfi, objected that the McLaren report was not a final and binding decision of the adjudicating body, but he never went to any court against McLaren to challenge his conclusions.

"As the investigation progressed, the MIIT became aware of activities that indicated possible criminal conduct, with millions of dollars in cash unaccounted for and not entered into the books of the IWF, but the MIIT reported separately on these matters to the O&I Commission on a strictly confidential basis," the McLaren report said.

"After interviewing the accountants, it was found that the IWF had omitted and obstructed thousands of international transactions from the IWF spreadsheet file, the overall net effect of which was to hide more than $10 million USD in unaccounted for cash. The cumulative effect of these confusing entries is an approximate difference between cash receipts and cash disbursements of $10.4 million over the period under review," the CAS decision quotes Prof McLaren's report.

Prof. McLaren testified to the CAS Panel that he had provided the Oversight and Integrity Commission with full of details of the alleged criminal conduct to  in his confidential report.

The shocking details provided by Professor McLaren in his report may leave one wondering why the then IWF Director General at the time, Adamfi - who was the person directly responsible for the organisation's finances and compliance with corporate procedures - was not held accountable for all the failures identified by McLaren.

Adamfi was also admitted to the IWF Executive Board elections in 2022 being eligible candidates despite millions disappeared during his management at the IWF. Finally, he was elected as the Vice President, and he currently holds this position in the IWF. Probably, the IWF Eligibility Determination Panel did not find any reason to recognize ex-IWF Director General as non-eligible candidate.

At the same time, the IWF Eligibility Determination Panel (EDP) took Agapitov off the road due to his affiliation with the Russian Weightlifting Federation, but he forced the CAS to overturn the EDP decision and in June 2022 the CAS issued the decision clearing all Russian officials, including Agapitov, for the IWF elections 2022.