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  • Besseberg Denies Biathlon Bribery


    (ATR) The president of the International Biathlon Union denies allegations he received $300,000 to keep silent about positive drug tests for Russian athletes.
    Anders Besseberg speaks to VG April 12 in Norway. (VG)

    Anders Besseberg made the denial to Oslo media outlet VG two days after Austrian police raided the Salzburg headquarters of the Olympic winter federation.

    The raid apparently was triggered by information provided by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former chief of the Moscow drug testing laboratory central to the scandal over doping in Russian sport.

    Investigators are pursuing allegations that Besseberg received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to keep silent about positive tests for Russian biathletes.

    Norwegian Besseberg, 72, has stepped down while the inquiry is underway, along with secretary general Nicole Resch. Besseberg, the only president of the federation since its founding 25 years ago, has previously said he would not stand for re-election in September.

    “No, I'm not corrupt. That I must have been paid by the Russians to hide doping tests, I can say clearly [not],” Besseberg tells VG.

    “I have given the same answer to the investigators. I have never received a crown, euro, dollar or ruble for that matter. I have not tried to fool with Russian samples," said Besseberg.

    Besseberg tells VG investigators seized his Austrian mobile phone and the PC in his home office at his family farm in Norway.

    “There was an interpreter present. It's a requirement, even if I did not need it. I said no to have my own lawyer present during the hearings. I did not feel it was needed. The questions I received were easy to answer,” Besseberg told VG.

    Besseberg says he was not queried about allegations that he concealed 65 positive tests from Russia since 2011.

    Klaus Leistner, IBU vice president of finance, will be the interim president of the federation. The Austrian takes the post after vice president Viktor Majgurov, who is Russian, declined. 

    Reported by Ed Hula.

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