Former biathlon champion Besseberg indicted for blatant corruption

The former biathlon leader, Anders Besseberg (77), is being prosecuted in connection with the corruption affair which has weighed on him for several years, informs Økokrim.

Anders Besseberg pictured as IBU president during the Biathlon World Cup in 2017. On Monday, Økokrim filed a corruption complaint against him.

IN the decision to prosecute Besseberg is accused of blatant corruption between 2009 and 2018. This corresponds to the accusation against him by Økokrim during the investigation phase.

– Økokrim believes that there is evidence that the accused received bribes continuously over a period of ten years. The seriousness of the case is underlined by the breach of trust that this entails due to his position as president of the IBU, said prosecutor and first prosecutor Marianne Djupesland.

The indictment includes bribes in the form of watches, hunting trips and hunting trophies, prostitutes and a leased car that he managed from 2011 to 2018 in Norway, writes Økokrim.

Denies any criminal culpability

As part of the investigation, Økokrim received assistance from authorities in the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein and Canada. They have already cooperated with Austrian police under the auspices of Eurojust, a decentralized EU agency responsible for cooperation between criminal prosecution authorities.

Monday’s news came five years after Besseberg resigned as president of the International Biathlon Union (IBU). It was a position he had held since 1992.

The 77-year-old’s lawyer said in a statement to NTB that Besseberg denies committing anything criminal.

– Besseberg claims he never accepted a bribe or sought to influence the IBU’s anti-doping work for anyone’s benefit, the press release states.

Ten-year penalty framework

Already in October 2017, the Austrian police began working on this case. Six months later, the IBU headquarters in Salzburg was raided, and soon after, Besseberg confirmed that his farm in Norway had also been raided.

He has always denied committing illegal acts. According to the Norwegian Penal Code, blatant corruption is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

In 2020, Økokrim took over the corruption part of the charges, while Austrian police continued the investigation into fraud and doping. Besseberg was accused of helping Russia cover up doping.

Crush Report

The IBU’s independent integrity unit has also investigated Besseberg in recent years, but the findings are still awaited. In January 2021, a report commissioned by the Biathlon Union was presented and several serious accusations were made against Besseberg.

They believed, among other things, that he had allowed himself to be bribed to protect Russian interests. Additionally, he was linked to prostitutes, expensive gifts, and free hunting trips.

The former general secretary of the IBU, Nicole Resch, is also the subject of a police investigation. She also had strong allegations against her in the investigation report.

Besseberg has been an honorary member of the Norwegian Sports Confederation since 2015. Two years ago, the NIF said it would wait for the outcome of the IBU investigation before considering bringing Besseberg’s case to the committee of sentencing of the association.

Rocky Maldonado

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