Sebastian Coe has revealed that LOCOG owe the short term loans company Wonga.com a “significant sum” after several members of the finance team used the website to cover a budgetary shortfall. Coe – who is rumoured to have had to talk Olympic Minister Hugh Robertson out of borrowing a further £450m this week – would not be drawn on how much is actually outstanding but Wonga insiders told Inside the Rings that it “ran into the tens of millions”.
Wonga offer loans at an interest rate of up to 5000% and insist that their products are “not designed for long term projects such as an Olympic Games”. However, it is understood that the top finance officer authorised the loans on the grounds that it would “make the shortfall go away”. It is not yet known whether he was aware of the consequences of his actions but Lord Coe confirmed that the individual “had been redeployed”.
Coe added that as far as he was concerned the practice was “not allowed anymore” but he did not comment on how the current debts were to be met. Rumours that Sir Steve Redgrave was to be hired out as a children’s entertainer have been denied by other 2012 sources. The news comes at a bad time for Games chiefs after several leading figures had to be sacked last week for betting the entire catering budget on Misha B to win X Factor.