Pat McQuaid’s computer was seized in Switzerland within minutes of him losing the UCI presidential election in Florence last month.
Within minutes of Pat McQuaid losing the UCI presidential election in Florence last month, his computer was seized as part of a pre-prepared operation put in place by his successor Brian Cookson and triggered immediately the Briton took office.
The action was part of Cookson’s efforts to keep his election promise that practices at the UCI in recent years would be fully investigated if he managed to beat McQuaid in the election.
It has now emerged that in the minutes after the presidential election, Cookson signed a form authorising private detectives to enter the UCI’s headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, and immediately seize computers.
The speed of the plan was designed to ensure any records on computers were not changed or deleted before they could be seized.
The paperwork was signed by Cookson in Florence and scanned and emailed to staff from the Kroll private investigations company who were waiting outside the UCI’s offices. They were there by arrangement with Cookson and were ready to move in once Cookson won the election and was in a position to order the search of what immediately became his offices.
Among the computers seized was the one used by McQuaid.
It should be stressed that on the basis of the information that has come to light at this point, McQuaid’s computer was just one a number seized from the UCI’s offices.
Cookson confirmed the seizures, telling the Financial Times: “They had to secure the computers. They took all the back-up tapes and all the IT stuff. They were available to make sure that nothing was destroyed that shouldn’t be destroyed.”
A dossier was compiled by Russian UCI management committee member Igor Makarov during the UCI presidential election campaign.
It outlined serious allegations of corruption, including financial corruption, against McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen. Both men have strenuously denied the allegations.
The investigation now underway will involve a trawl of the computers seized, including McQuaid’s, as investigators working for the UCI probe practices at the organisation during the periods when McQuaid and Verbruggen were in charge.
The probe is focused on examining the UCI’s actions in relation to Lance Armstrong when he was at the height of his career. It will also examine his comeback to the sport and the UCI’s conduct as the American fell from grace and as an independent commission promised by McQuaid fell apart not long after it was set up. It was to review the UCI’s actions in relation to Armstrong.