Ignatius Leong, member of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s team for many years, made a surprise move by switching to Garry Kasparov’s camp for the upcoming 2014 FIDE elections.
The move was announced at the 84th FIDE congress in Tallinn and despite the large surprise of the switch, no light has been shed on the details or the motifs for such a major change of Leong’s position.
Now three months later, The New York Times comes with extensive publication on what might have been in the works behind the scenes.
In a story titled “Kasparov’s Moves in Run for Chess Office Raise Ethical Concerns” published last night, NY Times reveals details of a draft agreement between Leong and Kasparov, the authenticity of which was confirmed in an email to the NY Times by the Norwegian lawyer working for Kasparov on his campaign, the man who drafted it, Morten Sand. Excerpt:
Kasparov and Leong negotiated a deal in which Leong would help Kasparov’s presidential run in exchange for $500,000, according to a draft contract reviewed by The New York Times. Kasparov also agreed, after his election, to open a new federation office in Singapore, to be run by Leong, for which he would be paid an undisclosed amount.
The contract was drafted by Morten Sand, a Norwegian lawyer working for Kasparov on his campaign. He confirmed its authenticity in an email to The Times and said the draft was superseded by another contract in which “the parties had agreed that all financial support was given with the explicit purpose of chess development and programs.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.” Sand emphasized this point again on Tuesday in a letter posted on Kasparov’s election website after The Times inquired about the draft contract.
Leong was to be “responsible for delivering 10 + 1 vote from his region, with the effort to deliver 15 votes (not counting China),” the draft contract said. Leong was also to “secure 5 + 1 endorsements (signed proxies)” for Mr. Kasparov’s election.
In an article on Kasparov’s campaign website, Morten Sand publishes an extended statement on the case. In an update quote, the details revealed are qualified as “stolen draft contract”, while Kasparov’s camp will “release the final version […] on Friday, January 24 – a day prior to Garry Kasparov’s press conference in Wijk aan Zee on Saturday”.