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Biathlon report describes corrupt conduct and favors for Russia | Sports

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SALZBURG, Austria (AP) – A report commissioned by the International Biathlon Union said on Thursday that there was evidence of “systematic corrupt and unethical conduct at the top” of the governing body, in particular in protecting Russia on doping issues.

The report, published in a redacted version, accuses former UIB president Anders Besseberg of intensely lobbying for Russian interests while showing little appetite to pursue doping cases that could embarrass the government. country.

He also said that Besseberg, who ran biathlon for 25 years, was taken for free hunting and fishing in Russia and instructed IBU employees to transport his trophies to his home in Norway. The report cites evidence from a police investigation that Besseberg admitted to “receiving the service of a prostitute” while in Moscow, which he believed to have been paid for by a third party.

The commission which drew up the report said that Besseberg “appears, in the opinion of the Commission, to have had no respect for ethical values ​​and no real interest in protecting sport from cheating”, and that he did not ‘made that the “absolute minimum” on the – doping problems.

The report accuses the IBU leadership of repeatedly failing to search for evidence in Russian doping cases. Regarding blood doping, the report said a cover-up was impossible because athlete profiles had not been checked for signs of doping.

There is the testimony of the director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, who said he overheard a conversation between two Russian officials about a sum of 200,000 to 300,000 dollars allegedly paid to Besseberg and that Russia had a “leverage effect” on Besseberg. The commission did not have access to the bank account data, but said Norwegian authorities were investigating whether Besseberg was illegally receiving money or other benefits.

Former IBU General Secretary Nicole Resch is accused of failing to request further tests on Russian athlete Evgeny Ustyugov at the doping-stained Sochi 2014 Olympics after indications of “very abnormal ”in his blood. Ustyugov won a gold medal but was stripped of the honor last year after a ban on a separate allegation of past steroid use.

The report also states that Resch offered “secret” assistance with the anti-doping appeals of three Russians and tried to influence the chairman of an anti-doping panel by considering a case the IBU brought against another Russian.

Besseberg is also accused of failing to act on corruption allegations, both when a Russian official allegedly tried to buy votes at an IBU congress and when Resch said another official had him offered a jewelry box in 2008 or 2009 when doping cases were under investigation. . She said she had not accepted the box or opened it.

Besseberg and Resch stepped down in 2018, shortly after a raid on IBU headquarters by Austrian police. Neither has been charged or convicted of a crime. The report says Besseberg declined to answer questions while a criminal investigation into her conduct remains open, and Resch said she could not be questioned due to health reasons.

In addition to his role in the IBU, Besseberg was previously a member of the founding board of the World Anti-Doping Agency representing Olympic winter sports until his resignation in 2018.

“The allegations presented in this report are abhorrent to anyone who cares about the integrity of sport,” WADA President Witold Banka said in a statement. “However, it is all to the credit of the IBU which, in the wake of this scandal, has taken important steps to strengthen the integrity of its anti-doping program.”

The report could lead to more …

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