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    Patafa says Petrov, Bubka letters prompted EJ Obiena probe

    Nov 22, 2021
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    EJ Obiena says he has nothing to hide.

    THE Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) said the internal probe into EJ Obiena's finances was prompted by a letter signed by his own coach Vitaly Petrov claiming he had not received payment for his services.

    Rebuffing statements made by the Olympic pole vaulter on Sunday, the Patafa insisted it only acted in response to the Petrov letter, which was backed by a signed affidavit by World Athletics senior vice-president Sergey Bubka.

    Bubka is a former Olympic and world pole vault champion who was also coached by Petrov in the past. The letters claimed the coach had not received compensation owed him for coaching Obiena in Italy.

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    Obiena is being asked by Patafa to return EUR85,000 (about PHP4.8 million) in financial assistance. The Patafa claimed the pole vaulter falsified documents to show that he settled the payments of his Ukrainian coach.

    Patafa also said the investigation being conducted by its board was "purely internal and kept away from the public," as it belied Obiena's claim of 'character assassination.'

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    In a hastily called press conference on Sunday, the 26-year-old provided proof of his payment to Petrovin a press conference on Sunday, indicating that he has turned over the legendary coach's salary on time from May 2018 to August 2021.

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    Petrov appeared with Obiena in Sunday's onilne press conference.

    Patafa questions liquidation report

    However, Patafa argued that Obiena only settled these obligations in November and not during the months which he officially reported in his liquidation report.

    Patafa noted these payments were made in tranches through banks based in Dubai, Germany, and Manila, with the discrepancies in the reports Obiena sent to the federation and the documents from Petrov and Bubka prompting the probe.

    Obiena has since hired private firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in auditing the payments, although he admitted that "some of my liquidation paperwork were probably submitted late or in a sloppy fashion."

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      He insisted though, that he has done nothing wrong, noting, "I welcome a full and open accounting. I have nothing to hide. I'm an open book."

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