Harold Smith, the boxing promoter named in an alleged $21.3 million bank fraud scheme, says he has tapes and documents "that could put a lot of boxing people in jail."
But Smith, who went into hiding two months ago, told The New York Times in an interview in Los Angeles that he has no plans to turn the material over to authorities investigating boxing.
"I don't want to hurt anyone," said Smith, chairman of Muhammad Ali Professional Sports Inc. (MAPS), which Wells Fargo National Bank accused in a lawsuit of participating in the alleged fraud. A former official of the bank, another MAPS executive and several organizations in which they are principals are also named in the suit.
In the first face-to-face interview since dropping out of sight, Smith declared he is innocent of any wrongdoing. He said six bank employes were involved in the alleged scheme, not one employe, as bank officials have acknowledged. Bank officials declined comment on the allegation.
Smith wouldn't make public the names of the persons he says he could sent to jail, and he gave few details of their activities. But off the record, he cited many promoters, world champions, former world champions and key members of both the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association.
He said he knew of payments made to get fighters ranked and that he had a copy of a contract giving one promoter 33 1/3 percent of the purse of a world champion, a violation of laws that prohibit a promoter from acting as a boxer's manager.
Declaring that he had never made any such payments himself, Smith said he does not blame those who did "because that's the way business is done."
Smith, who has a reputation as a lavish spender, said he always sought to ensure that fighters got their fair share of purses, although others criticized his generosity.
"I felt if a guy could go in and get his brains beat out, he deserved a bigger piece of the pie," Smith said. "I don't get no kick out of nobody beating nobody's brains out. That's why I made sure the fighters got most of the money."
The Wells Fargo suit alleges that Smith; L. Benjamin Lewis, former operations manager of Wells Fargo's Beverly Hills branch and a MAPS director; and Sammie Marshall, the MAPS president, diverted funds and that MAPS accounts were credited with deposits that were never made.