Pyeongchang committee audited

SEOUL, South Korea -- The organizing committee for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang has been under investigation over its preparations for the games, South Korean officials said.

Tuesday's confirmation by the Seoul-based Board of Audit and Inspection came one day after the resignation of organizing committee chief Kim Jin-sun.

Kim stepped down saying new leadership is needed. South Korean media reported he was fired by the government over poor preparations for the games, citing delays in construction of the speedskating venue and lack of progress in signing major sponsorship deals.

Audit officials said the week-long inspection of the committee looked at financing and management, but would not say whether the probe specifically targeted reported construction delays and sponsorship problems.

The results of the investigation, which began in late May and ended on July 11, were expected in three months, according to the audit agency.

Officials in the eastern Gangwon province, which includes Pyeongchang, confirmed the construction of a speedskating venue has been delayed due to a debate over how to use it after the Olympics. They said construction of other sports venues began earlier this year as previously scheduled.

The Gangwon officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to give their names under department rules, said the construction delay should have nothing to do with Kim's resignation because building issues are overseen by provincial officials, not by the organizing committee.

Kim, former governor of Gangwon province, led the South Korean town's two unsuccessful bids for the 2010 and 2014 Olympics. In 2010, he stepped down as governor and had since served as an ambassador to Pyeongchang's bid committee for the 2018 games.

On Wednesday, the organizing committee said in a statement that Korean Olympic Committee President Kim Jung-haeng, has become its acting chief.

Media reports said former Prime Minister Han Seung-soo and former Korean Olympic Committee President Park Yong-sung would be possible candidates for new organizing committee chief.

International Olympic Committee officials who visited Pyeongchang recently expressed no major concerns about preparations for 2018.

IOC President Thomas Bach visited Pyeongchang earlier this month and said he remains confident the Koreans can organize "excellent" games.

Following Kim's resignation, the IOC said in a statement Monday that its latest project review at the end of June had provided organizers with "a clear roadmap of activities until the end of the year."

"We have full confidence that these activities will be delivered by the POCOG team in a timely manner and using their existing processes," the IOC said. "We continue to work closely with them on their preparations for the games."


Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this report.