Un Yong Kim, one of the most prominent figures in the scandal surrounding Salt Lake City's successful bid for the 2002 Winter Games, announced Tuesday he's running for the IOC presidency.

In 1999, Kim received "the most serious of warnings" from other members of the International Olympic Committee after an internal investigation found that his son, John Kim, was receiving payments from Salt Lake bidders through a Utah company.

Federal charges were filed in 1999 against John Kim and against the owner of the Utah company involved, David Simmons. Simmons pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor tax violation, but John Kim returned home to South Korea and faces possible extradition.

Kim told reporters in Monte Carlo, where he made his announcement, that the scandal should not hurt his bid to succeed IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch as the first Asian leader of the Swiss-based organization.

"You keep coming back to the same old story," The Associated Press reported Kim as saying. He called himself "a benefit-giver, not a benefit-taker" and said he did not know why he was implicated in the scandal.

"My whole life has been dedicated to sport, humanitarian causes and helping others," Kim, the president of the World Taekwondo Federation and an organizer of the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, said. "It's up to IOC members to judge my record against some warnings."

That judgment will come in July, at the IOC session in Moscow. Members now have five candidates to select from, including Anita DeFrantz of the United States, the IOC's senior vice president.

Kim is considered a front-runner, along with Belgium's Jacques Rogge and Canada's Dick Pound. DeFrantz and the other declared candidate, Pal Schmitt of Hungary, are not expected to win many votes in the secret ballot.

Pound, who entered the race Monday, headed the IOC's investigation into the Salt Lake bid scandal with the help of Rogge and others. At the time, Pound's role in the investigation led to a confrontation with Kim at an IOC meeting, but the pair were seen having dinner together last week.

Kim made only a passing reference to the crisis caused by the scandal within the Olympic movement, noting ethics was one of the new challenges facing the IOC. He called for the IOC to pay for travel for IOC members visiting bid cities. Such visits are now banned.


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