Olympic bid
Traffic lights may have been rigged to improve visits to its Olympic sites (Reuters)

Traffic lights in London were rigged in order to impress the International Olympic Committee assessing the city's bid for the 2012 games.

According to a Vanity Fair article, London's Olympic bid team were concerned that the IOC would be put off the bid if it became stuck in traffic on the way to venues.

Sir Keith Mills, CEO of the London bid committee, said its "nightmare was that it would take forever to get to the venues."

Therefore a plan was put together where the route of the committee was plotted, as the committees cars were tracked using GPS transmitters.

This meant that the cars could be watched on their trips across the capital from the London Traffic Control Center, near Victoria Station.

"When they came up to traffic lights we turned them green," Mills added.

The plan, which sounds like it would not be out of place in most spy thrillers, gives some idea of how crucial it was to impress the IOC, which is protected by strict lobbying rules.

The article charts the two-year-long battle for the bid that London entered into in 2005, facing strong opposition from Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York.

After winning the bid, the events costs have skyrocketed to more than £11bn, of which the IOC will provide around £1m towards the cost of putting on the games.

Meanwhile the city will be held to strict brand protection law, with "brand protection teams" tasked with confiscating all non-licensed goods bearing Olympic branding.