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Report: Nike exec bribed Chinese official

April 24, 2012 at 7:57 PM
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DANDONG, China, April 24 (UPI) -- A Nike marketing official paid a bribe of nearly $30,000 to the former head of the Chinese Football Association, court documents indicate.

Li Tong, marketing director for Nike China, paid the bribe to former CFA head Xie Yalong, the documents showed. Xie, 56, is being prosecuted for allegedly taking about $273,000 in bribes from dozens of companies, soccer clubs and individuals, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday, the second day of Xie's trial.

An attorney for Xie, told a Chinese Web site his client denied "parts of the charges" against him in the court. People's Daily's has reported the attorney said Xie given the court names of people who "forced him" to confess while he was being interrogated.

Xinhua said court documents indicate the alleged bribery began in 1998, when Xie -- serving as director of the Mass Sports Department of the State General Administration of Sports -- took a payment from a sports equipment manufacturer.

The alleged bribe by Li was in return for Xie helping Nike win a title sponsorship with the Chinese Super League, Xinhua said.

Li, who also is known as Tony Li, was detained in China in September 2010 during an investigation of soccer corruption, The (Portland) Oregonian reported. Tony Li was a hurdler at Washington State University and represented China in the Summer Olympics in 1992, the report said.

"Nike has not been contacted by the authorities in China in relation to the Chinese Super League," Nike said in a statement Tuesday. "We take the allegations reported in the media very seriously. Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport, and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery."

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