(ATR) Austrian police raided the International Biathlon Federation in Salzburg today, the federation confirmed.
Biathlon at the PyeongChang Olympics (ATR)
“The Austrian Federal Criminal Police executed a property search under warrant, at the International Biathlon Union Headquarters, on Tuesday, the 10th of April, 2018,” the IBU said in a statement. “The search is linked to the investigation focusing on IBU President Anders Besseberg and IBU Secretary General Nicole Resch.”
The IBU confirmed that Resch had “requested a leave of absence” following the raid and that executive director Martin Kuchenmeister would serve as acting secretary general.
Austrian police are said to be focusing on Besseberg and Resch after new testimony from Russian whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, according to his lawyer. Rodchenkov is the whistleblower behind the ongoing Russian doping crisis, surrounding manipulation of anti-doping procedures at the Sochi Olympics. Norwegian police joined Austrian counterparts during the raid, according to international reports.
“Dr. Rodchenkov has been cooperating with the investigation of the International Biathlon Union, and with other investigations,” Jim Walden, Rodchenkov’s lawyer, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that all doping fraud and corruption in international sports is fully exposed, and we will continue to work diligently to make that a reality.”
Besseberg and Resch are alleged to have taken payments from Russian authorities in order to cover up positive doping tests ahead of the Sochi Olympics, according to a report from Le Monde.
The report said that Rodchenkov told World Anti-Doping Agency investigators that in 2013 payments began to be arranged to “ensure Russian interests” in biathlon.
At the PyeongChang Olympics Besseberg spoke
with Around the Rings
about the solution to allow Russian athletes to compete as neutrals. He said that "we must also be very careful we are not sanctioning clean athletes, that is what is problematic in this case," and welcomed Russian participation.
Russia was selected to host the 2021 Biathlon World Championships, and controversially hosted the 2018 World Cup final just weeks after the 2018 Winter Olympics. Both the United States and Canada refused to send athletes to the World Cup event over doubts of competent doping controls.
It is unclear how long Besseberg will stay as head of the IBU. He told Reuters
“personally I think this is the right thing to do” when asked if he would step down.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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