Politics, Money, Ethics. FIDE and Kasparov Keep Fighting

Время публикации: 24.01.2014 20:26 | Последнее обновление: 01.01.2015 18:24

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov asks Ignatius Leong to resign

About a week ago several people, including the editor-in-chief of Chess-News Evgeny Surov, received an anonymous email with an attached file - the contract between Garry Kasparov and Ignatius Leong. Mr. Leong is the general secretary of the federation under its longtime president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. As it is known, Leong agreed to join Kasparov's team under an agreement to become the next FIDE president.

The sender of the email (supposedly with a fictional name) underlines several points in the contract according to which Mr. Leong allegedly agrees to deliver Kasparov "10+1 vote from his region, with the effort to deliver 15 votes (not counting China)." Instead, Mr. Leong "will receive a total amount of $ 500 000 to be paid in agreed tranches between the signing of this Agreement and 1 month before the opening of the FIDE General Assembly in August 2014."

UPD. Another statement released on kasparov2014.com:

"This is an historic day, as for the first time in 20 years of FIDE elections a campaign team is following the principle of transparency by making public two contracts: The first, between Garry Kasparov and Ignatius Leong, and the second, between the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific.

The first contract, signed on the 5th of September, 2013, deviates on at least one significant point from the draft that was stolen and published. The funds described in paragraph 3.1 as $500K is in the end incorporated into paragraph 4.1. All this money is to be spent for chess programs in the Asia-Pacific region.

In order to regulate the proper expenditure of funds, a separate agreement between KCF and KCF-AP was signed on the 31st of October. This contract describes the terms of expenditure and accountability of the funds.

Paragraph 2 of the aforementioned agreement specifically prohibits money being paid out to individuals outside of the scope of the agreement itself.

IA, IO Morten Sand, Attorney at Law
24 January, 2014."

In other words, there's an important difference between the contract published by Kasparov's enemies and the final version of it. This final version was published today and there's no such a paragraph as 500 thousand US dollars which personally Ignatius allegedly had to receive from Kasparov for delivering Kasparov 10+1 vote at the elections.

You can download both contracts in PDF below.


Soon Garry Kasparov's website kasparov2014.com published a statement by the author of the contract, Norwegian lawyer Morten Sand.

"Let me start by confirming that I have a contract as an Advisor helping Garry Kasparov to become the next FIDE President. This is a regular retainer contract covering the period July 1st 2013 to 31st August 2014 entered into by the Law firm where I work. Bound by the well-established client/lawyer confidentiality, I can only give information according to the client’s approval:

The final version of the Agreement was later signed on September 5th. By the time of the signing, the Parties had agreed that all financial support was given with the explicit purpose of chess development and programs. No money was going to individuals. On October 31st  the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) made an Agreement with the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia Pacific (KCFAP), listing how and for what purpose any transferred money could distributed and spent.

By examining these documents, it is clear that no money can or will be allocated to individuals for personal use.

I have no authority to disclose further details, but I also have no objections to making the documents public, including my own contract. I am in favor of such transparency and I look forward to seeing Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s team making their payments and contracts public.

When it comes to the question of my integrity and ethics, I will point out that I have been a practicing lawyer for 28 years. In accordance to The Norwegian Bar Associations ethical regulations, I have the right as an Attorney not to be identified with my client. Having said that, I can assure everyone that the Agreements signed and referred to create no ethical problem for me. I very early on informed the Tromsø Olympiad Organization of my involvement in the Kasparov team. However, we see no conflict between wanting to organize a very good chess Olympiad and working politically for a change in FIDE. On the contrary, our aim is to create absolutely fair and equal terms for all candidates. We want to set a new standard.

The kind of accusations put forward by the person in the emails cannot be taken seriously. As they have in the past, FIDE will appoint strong supporters of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in several positions in the Olympiad. We all have to be able to distinguish between the significant chess competence these colleagues bring and their political preference in the upcoming elections.


IA, IO Morten Sand, Attorney at Law
January 19, 2014."


Meanwhile, the abovementioned contract was published in New York Times. Soon FIDE publsihed several statements regarding the situation.

The first one is signed by the FIDE Executive Director Nigel Freeman: "After the article of the New York Times, concerning ethical questions regarding the contract between Gary Kasparov and Ignatius Leong, it came to our attention a statement by Morten Sand, the lawyer assisting Garry Kasparov's campaign, that a leaked contract between Gary Kasparov and Ignatius Leong was possible "through the administrator of the mail account in FIDE". The above statement of Morten Sand is entirely false. It is obvious that there is an attempt to drive the discussion away from the substance of this issue, i.e. whether such contracts are ethical or not. For the leaking of confidential documents, Garry Kasparov's team should perhaps look amongst themselves. "


Today FIDE website published the following statement by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov:

According to the newspaper Kommersant, which announced the Ilyumzhinov's statement before it was even published on FIDE website, Mr.Leong's reaction is also already known. Mr. Leong said he will "answer the letter only after consulting with the lawyers." At the same time Mr. Leong noted he doesn't see reasons to quit: "Should you be initiating the resignation relying on the article published by the newspaper and without previously talking to me? Ignatius Leong added that "a lot is written about Ilyumzhinov in the newspapers and in the Internet, but he [Ilyumzhinov] is not planning to resign though." 


Tonight Kasparov arrives in Wijk aan Zee where he plans to hold a press conference.

We will cover it in detail.

Agreement_Kasparov-Leong_Sep052013.pdf1.65 MB
Agreement_KCF-KCFAP_Oct312013.pdf178.5 KB


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