British Firm Assigned Investigation of FEI Handling of Dominican Republic Olympic Case

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Yvonne Losos de Muñiz and Liebling II in their quest to qualify for the Olympics. © 2012 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

A British firm that specializes in “integrity issues” is handling a request by the International Dressage Riders Club for an independent investigation of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) handling of the legal appeals by Dominican Republic rider Yvonne Loso de Muñiz over Olympic selection procedures in Latin America.

MonitorQuest, with head offices in London and Boston and headed up by Lord John Stevens, former commissioner of London Metropolitan Police known the world over as Scotland Yard, is conducting the investigation on behalf of the FEI. Lord Stevens also chaired a study commissioned by the FEI after the 2008 Olympics marred by doping scandals that led to the creation of the FEI Integrity Unit to whom the IDRC addressed its request.

The IDRC call for the investigation was sparked by reports about the FEI tactics that some riders have labeled “intimidation,” though the riders’ club is not taking sides but seeking to determine whether Yvonne and the Dominican federation were “treated with respect.”

The FEI referred questions about the investigation, how long it was expected to take and whether the results would be made public to MonitorQuest.

A spokesman for Monitor Quest told dressage-news.com: “”The company policy of MonitorQuest is not to discuss its client’s affairs publicly.”

MonitorQuest’s Internet site describes its mission as conducting “investigations into sporting scandals and corruption allegations. We have acted on behalf of governing bodies and clubs on some of the most sensitive and high-profile recent sport investigations.

“These investigations have covered management corruption, athlete cheating, anti-doping, sport-business specific investigations, and regulatory audits.”

The investigation into the FEI case is managed by Paul Greenwood, MonitorQuest’s head of Corporate and Sporting Integrity. He was with the Metropolitan Police for 28 years and attained the rank of Detective Superintendent at the Counter Terrorism and the Anti Corruption commands.

The investigation of the FEI conduct is the latest step in the dispute that began when the FEI authorized CDi3* Olympic qualifying competitions in Brazil with three home nation judges on the panels of five instead of two as as is the rule. The FEI extended a memorandum issued for the 2010 World Equestrian Games aimed at increasing participation but not authorized beyond then. The so-called “exception” was adopted for the majority of CDI3* Grand Prix competitions in Brazil and a handful in other nations outside Europe.

Luíza Tavares de Almeida of Brazil was at the top of the Olympic rankings for the sole place allocated to an individual in South America and competed in London on Pastor.

The Dominican Republic’s Yvonne Losos de Muñiz campaigned in the United States in which all ground juries included three foreign judges and was ranked second.

She and her national federation appealed to the FEI Tribunal which rejected it and then they took the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, which was their last resort.

CAS found that the FEI erred in applying the 2010 memorandum but upheld the decision confirming Brazil as the top ranked nation on the grounds that Luíza had competed with the expectation the results were valid.

The FEI has dismissed complaints over its handling of the case and expressed “full confidence” in its legal team headed by Lisa Lazarus, the FEI general counsel.