Former Biathlon President Indicted On Corruption Charges

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Anders Besseberg, disgraced former president of the IBU. | Picture: Manzoni/NordicFocus

Former President of the International Biathlon Union ‘IBU,’ Anders Besseberg, has been indicted by the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Økokrim) on corruption charges. The accused supposedly accepted bribes through cars, watches, prostitutes, and hunting trips.

Besseberg was president of the IBU from 1992-2018 and allegedly accepted bribes from the Russian delegation between 2009-2018 to cover up doping cases. 77-year-old Besseberg denies all wrongdoing.

Ibu logo
Logo of the International Biathlon Union ‘IBU.’ Picture: IBU Website

The indictment follows a joint investigation with Austrian authorities and cooperation with authorities in Canada, Czechia, and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Besseberg stepped down when Austrian investigators raided the IBU headquarters in 2018. In the spring of 2020, Økokrim was asked by Austrian authorities to take over the investigation of Besseberg. The investigation has required interviewing a vast amount of people and studying copious documents from a number of countries.

“Økokrim believes there is sufficient evidence to prove that he accepted bribes continuously over a ten-year period. The seriousness of the matter is emphasised by the breach of trust his actions represent in light of his position as president of the IBU,” the prosecutor in charge of the case, Senior Public Prosecutor Marianne Djupesland, stated in Økokrim’s press release.

Aside from this case, Pål K. Lønseth, Head of Økokrim, is worried about the level of corruption in top-level international sports:

“International top-level sports generate large revenues and handle large assets while at the same time many sports associations display a low level of maturity with respect to prevention of corruption. In context, this represents a clear risk of corruption which there is every reason to be worried about. I hope international top-level sports will strengthen their anti-corruption work so that sports organizations can maintain their credibility.”

Mixed relay cross country skiing
Athletes at the Mixed Biathlon Relay. | Picture: fasterskier

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