AFP: CGames chief Hooper denies “lavish lifestyle”

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NEW DELHI — Commonwealth Games Federation chief Mike Hooper denied Tuesday he felt threatened in New Delhi after an effigy of him was burned, and said reports of his “lavish lifestyle” were wrong.

Last week, New Zealand’s Hooper pinned blame on Indian organisers for the problems that left the Games, which opened on Sunday, teetering on the brink of collapse.

It prompted protestors in Delhi, led by Hindu group Rashtrawadi Sena, to accuse him of racism and burn an effigy of the administrator.

Hooper admitted he was disturbed by what happened, but denied he felt under threat.

“Obviously it was upsetting personally, but I’m not going to dwell on it,” he said in a press conference in which Commonwealth Games Federeation chief Mike Fennell tried to prevent Hooper answering.

“I’ve made my positon clear at the time. The basis of what led to that was not correct.

“Of course I’m upset, but as far as do I feel safe in Delhi? Yes I do. The security in place is appropriate and I dont have any issue with that.”

Leaked allegations also surfaced about Hooper’s apparent lavish lifestyle in India, where he lived leading up to the Games, including claims that he had six household staff and that the Indian government had paid his tax bill.

Hooper said it was lies.

“Well, it’s simply not true,” he said.

“There have been lots of numbers bandied around. I wish I had 600,000 dollars a year tax free because you gross that up and I would have earned a lot, but it’s simply not true.”

The Games were dogged by worries over threats of terror attacks, corruption, construction delays, and outbreaks of dengue fever in the lead-up, and problems persist with empty stadiums.

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This post was submitted by Mudit Agrawal.

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