Two leading figures in biathlon's world governing body have temporarily left their posts over allegations of a doping cover-up. This followed a raid by Austrian police on the IBU's Salzburg headquarters.
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) announced in a statement published on its website on Thursday that it had provisionally suspended its secretary general, Nicole Resch, while its president, Anders Besseberg (pictured above) had temporarily stepped down.
This came as Austrian prosecutors said they were investigating possible doping, fraud and corruption involving Russian athletes and officials involved in biathlon.
Police had raided the IBU's headquarters in Salzburg on Tuesday following a tip-off that Russian doping caseshad been covered up in return for bribes.
Prosecutors said the alleged wrongdoing covered a period from 2012 until the world biathlon championships, which were hosted by Austria last February.
They also said the amount of the alleged bribes they were investigating totaled $300,000 (€243,000), and that they were also treating $35,000 paid out in prize money as fraudulent earnings, if it was won by athletes who doped and should have been banned.
The case involves three countries, with searches also having been conducted in Germany and Norway.
Norwegian media have cited unnamed sources who said investigators were looking into 65 cases of alleged doping cover-ups.
WADA, Rodchenkov involvement
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said that information provided by its investigation department had led to Tuesday's raids. A lawyer for Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov said he was also involved.
Besseberg is a 72-year-old Norwegian who has run the IBU since it was founded in 1993 and also sits on the WADA board as a representative of Winter Olympic sports. He announced a few weeks ago that he would not stand for another term as IBU president at the organization's Congress in September. Thursday's IBU statement said that he had stepped down for the duration of the current investigation.
pfd/jh (AP, SID)