EJ Obiena seeks legal assistance, but makes ‘peace’ possible – Manila Bulletin
EJ Obiena revealed on Tuesday that he would seek the help of a lawyer to prove his innocence over the embezzlement allegations made against him by the Philippine Athletics Association (Patafa).
âI’ll erase my name. I will raise all legal challenges and I want this to go to a tribunal where all the evidence must be exposed, âObiena said in a two-page statement posted on his social media accounts.
âI will complete the PWC audit and finalize my legal remedies. “
The Olympian pole vaulter and world number 5 said he was “personally shocked by Patafa’s recent statement and shifting allegations” to accuse him of embezzling the payment schedule.
Although he admitted to paying Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov in the past, Obiena said he was “far from the embezzlement and theft they accused me of”.
“I’m not a lawyer, but as far as I know paying late is not a crime,” Obiena said.
Obiena reiterated that he has repeatedly asked Patafa to pay his coaches directly and to stop asking him to disperse all funds so that he can focus only on his training and competitions abroad, but he was refused.
He has been based in Formia, Italy for several years and has competed in European competitions throughout the season.
âI admitted that I struggle with the huge amount of paperwork I have to do to be my team’s payer. I am alone in Italy, I train nine hours a day and I have no help, âsaid Obiena.
âWhen I change country every 36 hours, I regret not being able to stop everything and reconcile all my financesâ¦ I am not an accountant. It is not a crime. “
Obiena also said that Petrov denies submitting a signed written complaint to Patafa and questioned the signed affidavit of Ukrainian Olympic Committee president Sergey Bubka.
âGiven the allegations, there are only three parties that I think matter: myself, Petrov and Patafa,â he said.
Obiena said he was ready to “make peace” in the matter, but asked that his name be cleared of these allegations.
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