Games Monitor

Skip to main content.

Articles by date

List of all articles in date order.


Pyeongchang2018 Olympics at the heart of South Korean corruption scandal

By Julian Cheyne and Rebecca Kim - Researcher at the Democracy & Social Movement Institute, SungkongHoe University, Seoul

Against the background of the all consuming scandal which has engulfed South Korea's now deposed President Park Pyeongchang2018 looms up as the next fixture in the Olympic murk. The scandal surrounding ex-President Park Guen-hye, her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, and South Korea’s secretive companies, or chaebols, such as Samsung, Hyundai, Lotte or Hanjin, has cast a light on the shadowy interactions between the government, the secret services and the chaebols, the companies which came to dominate the South Korean economy during the dictatorship of Park’s father, Park Jung-Hee.


| | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

Blacklisting, protest, 'domestic extremism' and the London Olympics

Finally the Metropolitan Police have come clean and admitted their role in the blacklisting of construction workers. While a number of companies had already owned up to their involvement with The Consulting Association, which kept a list of union members for the purposes of preventing them getting work on construction sites, even paying compensation to over 700 blacklisted workers, the police had refused to acknowledge their role in passing on information about union members to companies and The Consulting Association.

The existence of the blacklist, which included the names of over 3,500 workers, was revealed in a raid carried out by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which discovered the details of these workers in an investigation in 2009, although allegations of blacklisting had been made for decades. Workers and lawyers had been convinced blacklisting was an established practice back in the 1960s. The breakthrough came at an employment tribunal in 2008 when Alan Wainwright, a former manager in the construction industry, gave evidence that blacklisting was a widespread practice. The difficulty of proving blacklisting was suddenly overcome leading to the raid on The Consulting Association.

The arrival of the Olympics provided a considerable impetus to the already existing campaign against blacklisting. As the highest profile construction site in the country the Olympic Park attracted attention like no other. In 2009 the Olympics became a focus for protests after it was found in the raid on The Consulting Association that one of the key contractors on the Olympic site, Laing O’Rourke, had been involved with the blacklisting group. Then when, in February 2011, Frank Morris, who was working as an electrician at the Media Centre, was sacked by a sub-contractor after he defended a whistleblower, who had already been fired, there were renewed protests and demands for action and investigation. This led to further revelations about the contacts between Olympics contractors like Carillion, Sir Robert McAlpine and Skanska and The Consulting Association. Despite the knowledge that these Olympics contractors had been named in documents found by the Information Commissioner the Olympics Delivery Authority (ODA) failed to take any action apart from asking contractors if they were involved in blacklisting. Unsurprisingly the contractors denied any involvement.

However, given its place in the public eye, the ODA did not escape so easily. The House of Commons Select Committee on Scottish Affairs started an investigation and in 2013 the ODA was lambasted for its failure to respond to evidence that blacklisting was happening on the Olympic Park. The Chair of the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee declared the 'ODA were deceived, gullible or negligent' after hearing evidence which contradicted the declarations of the ODA's Chief Executive, Dennis Hone, who had told the Committee: “The ODA did not receive any evidence or could find any evidence of blacklisting on the Olympic Park during the construction phase or otherwise."

Despite the steady drip of revelations and investigations it took the Met until February 2013 launch its own ‘investigation’ into police involvement. The interesting question is why the police even needed to have an investigation. They should have known what their own officers were up to. The man who ran The Consulting Associations, Ian Kerr, had himself been a Special Branch police officer, and the Met would have known it was this section of the police which was most likely to have been involved in this kind of dirty operation. As a former Special Branch officer he would have retained valuable contacts in the force.

The Met’s shyness at looking into its own activities was followed by a reluctance to release the report which took an astonishing three years to complete. Then instead of releasing the results of this investigation which, it is now revealed, found the allegations ‘proven’, the report was sent to the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Hogan-Howe, precisely because of its sensitivity. Hogan-Howe, true to form, then failed to pass on the result. The police sat on the report for a further two years all of which demonstrates that the process always had more to do with concealment and evasion than with taking action. Even then the police failed to say anything of substance about what they had found. Indeed the Met’s statement was bland beyond belief:

"The report concludes that, on the balance of probabilities, the allegation that the police or Special Branches supplied information is 'proven'. Material revealed a potentially improper flow of information from Special Branch to external organisations, which ultimately appeared on the blacklist."


| | |

London2012 Housing Legacy down to 4,300 homes inside the Olympic Park

Two years ago I asked the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for its projections for housing by 2031. It came back with a figure of 6,800 homes. This had to be revised down to 6,650, then further revised down, although not acknowledged by the LLDC, to 5,650 and finally to 4,700 homes.

The LLDC quotes a completely different figure of 10,000 homes on its website. This total includes homes on several other sites sites, including East Village, the former Athletes’ Village, and Glasshouse Gardens, which are both on the Stratford City site, and Strand East, none of which have anything to do with the Olympics.

The LLDC also likes to refer to something called the Legacy Communities Scheme (LCS), which includes Rick Roberts Way, which is outside the Olympic Park, but which they include in the Pudding Mill Neighbourhood. This site would have been developed regardless of the Olympics.

As above, the LLDC’s response to my 2016 FoI request needed some revision!

The Legacy Communities Scheme (LCS) has planning permission for up to 6800 homes across five new neighbourhoods by 2031. This breaks down to up to 850 at Chobham Manor; 650 at East Wick; 850 at Sweetwater; and 1700 at Pudding Mill. The LCS also includes a further 2600 homes at Marshgate, however, the proposals for this neighbourhood will be reviewed as part of the Olympicopolis project, our proposals for a new University and Cultural Quarter.


| | |

Still no jobs legacy from the London2012 Olympics

Two years ago I asked the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for the number of people who were working in the Olympic Park. On that occasion it replied:

Since April 2012, when the LLDC came into existence, 770 non-construction jobs were created consisting of 452 in Park operations and venues and 318 in other associated and varied roles. Additionally, 222 are currently employed at Here East


| | | | | | |