Boxing Boss Sentenced; He and Son Banned

Robert W. Lee, Sr., ex-president of the N.J.-based Int’l Boxing Fed’n, was sentenced Feb. 14 to 22 months in prison for his corruption convictions. U.S. Dist. Judge John W. Bissell ordered Lee to surrender by Mar. 30 to begin serving the sentence. Bissell also fined Lee $25,000.

A federal jury convicted Lee on Aug. 17 of one count of money laundering, three counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering and two counts of filing false tax returns. The jury acquitted Lee’s son, Robert Lee, Jr., of all charges. The indictment against the Lees described a corrupt fighter rating system in which bribes were routinely paid by boxing promoters and managers to alter ratings of particular boxers and to provide others with favorable treatment. During the trial, the government called as witnesses numerous promoters and insiders who described instances where they paid Lee to have their fighters ranked and positioned for upcoming bouts and purses. Bribes ranged from $1,000 to $25,000. In one instance, testimony revealed that promoter Cedric Kushner paid Lee $100,000 to bring about a heavyweight championship fight between George Foreman and Axel Schulz.

Further, Bissell signed the orders, which had also been signed by Lee, Sr., and Lee, Jr., permanently barring them from IBF and the boxing industry. The decrees permanently enjoin both from “having any effect, directly or indirectly, on the affairs of the IBF or any other boxing organization or entity.” Also, the orders bar them from “having any dealings, directly or indirectly, with any director, officer, employee or member of the IBF or any other boxing organization or entity” and even from attending any boxing match.

The decree pertaining to Lee Sr. also requires that he repay the not-for-profit IBF $50,000 and that he divest himself of his majority shares in a separately incorporated IBF for-profit corporation, which prosecutors argued was illegitimate. [USAO D.N.J., Media Release 02/14/01]