Threat to sue athlete for fund-raising brothel

WELLINGTON Thu Oct 8, 2009 5:48am EDT

Logan Campbell (R) of New Zealand kicks Sung Yu-Chi of Taiwan during their men's -68kg preliminary round of 16 taekwondo match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Logan Campbell (R) of New Zealand kicks Sung Yu-Chi of Taiwan during their men's -68kg preliminary round of 16 taekwondo match at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 21, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The New Zealand Olympic Committee has threatened to sue a local taekwondo athlete who plans to finance his 2012 London Games bid with the proceeds from a brothel.

Logan Campbell, whose participation in the Beijing Olympics last year cost him NZ$150,000 ($110,600) -- most of which came from his parents -- opened a brothel with a friend in Auckland earlier this year.

Campbell went public with the scheme in July and the 23-year-old said he hoped to raise NZ$300,000 to alleviate any financial burden on his parents and to have more time to concentrate on training.

After remaining silent on the issue for three months, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) had written a letter to Campbell demanding he cease linking the Olympics to his business or face legal action, the athlete told New Zealand television Wednesday.

"Based on the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect, we would place your actions as totally inconsistent with these values," TV3 network quoted an excerpt of the letter, signed by NZOC secretary-general Barry Maister, as saying.

"Your open solicitation of 'clients' for your 'business' while using the Olympic or Olympian connection must cease immediately, or the NZOC will be forced to consider taking legal action against you."

Campbell, who finished outside the medals in the featherweight division at Beijing, defended his business and fundraising efforts.

Owning and running brothels is legal in New Zealand, where laws governing prostitution are relatively liberal by world standards.

"At the end of the day, I feel like I'm not exploiting anyone because no one has to be here, we are not forcing anyone to be here. They are here of their own free will," he told the network.

Campbell was now threatening legal action of his own, TV3 added.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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