Pole vaulter EJ Obiena paid Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov from different sources, according to the chief of the national athletics federation.
Interviewed on television Wednesday, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico revealed that the money that was used to pay for the services of Petrov came from various sources and not from the federation or the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Petrov had written Juico to inform him that he has been fully paid by Obiena and presented proofs of the payment, copies of which were obtained by Daily Tribune.
In fact, one of the deposits made to Petrov came from his mother, former Patafa board member and auditor Jeanette Obiena, amounting to $12,000 — or roughly P605,000 — which was deposited through a Metrobank account on 5 November.
Obiena also wired his coach 4,000 euro on 4 November and 12,000 euro on 5 November from his Berlin account.
Petrov also received 12,627.92 euro on 4 November from a Dubai bank. Also attached was the 10,505.13 euro he got from the same bank on 24 November 2020.
Juico said Petrov was paid in full only this month, but Obiena’s liquidation reports showed he had been paying the Ukrainian coach since 2018.
“The payment came from different sources,” Juico said, hinting at a massive discrepancy between Obiena’s liquidation report to the federation and the proofs of payments made to Petrov.
“Two parts of the payment came from Arab Bank in Dubai, which was also used in an earlier transaction. One part came from him from a bank in Germany. The other two parts came from his mother.”
“She was actually the point person in Patafa that EJ was talking about.”
Obiena is currently under investigation by Patafa for allegedly mishandling the funds given to him by the PSC and the federation.
In an Apostille Affidavit executed last month, pole legend Sergey Bubka stressed that Obiena failed to pay Petrov’s salary of 2,000 euro from September 2018 up to August 2021.
Although there was no contract entered into with Petrov, both the Patafa and the PSC still made sure that they were religiously paying him for his coaching services through Obiena.
In a separate statement, Obiena dismissed the allegation, saying that the investigation has no basis since he already paid Petrov in full.
But Juico doesn’t buy his excuse.
“The question was ‘when?’ 4 November, 5 November and 9 November 2021. Then why does the liquidation report say that he paid in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021?” Juico, a former PSC chairperson, asked.
“That’s what we wanted to know. We are in a stewardship role. The money given was entrusted to us. Is it wrong to ask? Because we will be the ones who will account for that.”
Juico said he welcomes the auditing firm hired by Obiena.
“They said they will get PricewaterhouseCoopers to look at it. Go ahead. Bring them and talk to PSC since that’s where the liquidation report was submitted,” he said.
Juico denied that they were harassing the 26-year-old Olympian over the delayed payments to Petrov.
He reiterated that the Patafa probe was prompted by the complaint made by Bubka over non-payment of Petrov’s salaries.
Bubka, who helped Obiena earn a scholarship in 2014, is a senior vice president of World Athletics and an executive council member of the International Olympic Committee.
Juico held a virtual conference with Bubka and Petrov last September where he uncovered the alleged mishandling of funds.
“Bubka affirmed it. I said ‘Are you willing to complain about that and prepare a sworn statement, both of you?’ He said yes,” Juico said.
“This isn’t personal. This is part of good governance. This is part of accountability and transparency. A certain amount of money was entrusted to you and there is a board resolution in PSC saying you can only use this money in this.”
Obiena, however, insisted that Petrov did not file a complaint with Patafa or with World Athletics regarding the delayed payment of his salary.
“If Vitaly had a complaint, he would have told me at the very beginning. I asked in a message saying ‘Did you complain to World Athletics or Patafa?’ He said no and asked me why. My reply to the memorandum was there’s no complaint. Maybe asked but there was no complaint.”