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Boxing Promoter Arum Faces Sanctions

August 15, 2000

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Promoter Bob Arum would have his boxing license restricted for six months and pay a $125,000 fine for making a payoff to IBF founder Robert W. Lee under a proposed settlement to be considered by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Under settlement terms, Arum would be banned for six months from attending weigh-ins and entering dressing rooms and boxing rings at fights in Nevada.

Arum’s Top Rank company would be forced to open its books to the Nevada Athletic Commission, share all communications with sanctioning organizations and provide evidence on payments of any sanctioning fees during the six-month probationary period.

Arum’s lawyers negotiated the settlement with Marc Ratner, executive director of the state athletic commission and the state attorney general’s office.

The athletic commission, sitting as a judicial body, will consider the nonbinding 10-page agreement Wednesday, according to Chief Deputy Attorney General Kirk Hendrick. He said the commission may accept it, amend it or reject it and set a full hearing during which witnesses would be called and evidence presented.

Ratner directed questions to the attorney general’s office. A spokesman for Arum said he was advised by his attorneys not to comment.

In the settlement agreement, Arum admits to using poor judgment when he made an improper $100,000 payment to the IBF’s Lee to sanction the April 22, 1995, fight between heavyweight champion George Foreman and Axel Schulz, which Foreman won.

``It’s a way of saying, you, Robert Arum, have brought discredit to the sport of boxing,″ said Hendrick, who helped negotiate the settlement.

Hendrick said it was more important to have Arum admit wrongdoing and impose license restrictions that it was to seek the maximum fine of $250,000.

``Our biggest concern has been that Mr. Arum admit that what he did was wrong,″ he said.

``Our concern is that his license is now on probation,″ Hendrick said, explaining that the agreement spells out any further violations would cost Arum’s company its license immediately.

``He is now going to be put on a probationary status that will have him under a microscope,″ Hendrick said.

The settlement forces Arum to accept a lower public profile but allows him to continue to direct Top Rank.

``Let’s be honest,″ Hendrick said. ``He is Top Rank.″

Hendrick said Nevada authorities didn’t think they could separate Arum from Top Rank and still allow the company to fulfill its obligations to fighters. To do otherwise would have jeopardized the livelihood of innocent people, he said.

The Nevada Athletic Commission filed a complaint against Arum in July after he testified at Lee’s racketeering trial in New Jersey. Testifying without immunity, Arum admitted during four days on the stand that he paid Lee $100,000 above the standard sanctioning fee to win the IBF’s blessing for the little-known Schulz.

The rankings and sanctions granted by the IBF, as one of the world’s three major sanctioning bodies, play a big role in what fights and purses a boxer gets. The groups now get 3 percent of a boxer’s title fight purse in return for their approval.

Arum said he volunteered the information and cooperated with federal authorities in their case against Lee and his son.

Contrary to some reports, Arum has not acknowledged bribing Lee. Rather, he contends the extra payment was extorted.

Lee and his son, Robert Jr., 38, are the only defendants on trial in a case that alleges IBF officials took $338,000 to rig rankings and grant favors. They face multiyear prison terms if convicted of conspiracy, racketeering, fraud and tax charges.

The jury has deliberated 13 days and is expected to resume meeting Wednesday.

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