Biathlon-Former president of International Biathlon Union indicted on corruption charges

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- Former International Biathlon Union (IBU) president Anders Besseberg has been indicted on charges of aggravated corruption, Norwegian prosecutors said on Monday.

The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Okokrim) said the offences took place between 2009 and 2018.

Their charges include "accepting bribes in the form of watches, hunting trips and trophies, prostitutes and a leased car which he enjoyed the use of from 2011 to 2018 in Norway".

Besseberg, 77, is a former biathlete who was the federation's president for more than two decades before resigning in 2018 after a criminal investigation was opened into allegations of corruption.

"Okokrim believes there is sufficient evidence to prove that he accepted bribes continuously over a ten-year period," senior public prosecutor Marianne Djupesland said in a statement.

"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."

Okokrim said the investigation involved cooperation from Austrian authorities as well as assistance from authorities in the Czech Republic, Liechtenstein and Canada.

The IBU said the body as well as its integrity unit (BIU) worked closely with Okokrim and would continue to offer their support to reach a resolution.

The IBU had set up their own External Review Commission (ERC) -- independent from police investigations -- in November 2018 to conduct an investigation into allegations of favouring Russian interests.

"Following an exhaustive investigation, the ERC concluded that Mr Besseberg had a case to answer for breach of the IBU's rules, based on their apparent protection of Russian interests, particularly in the anti-doping context, without good justification," it said.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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