Prosecutors Seek Prison Term For Former Biathlon Boss On Last Day Of Corruption Trial In Norway

FILE - Anders Besseberg, president of International Biathlon Union, or IBU, right, listens to IBU Secretary General Nicole Resch before a press conference of the IBU Biathlon World Championships in Pyeongchang, east of Seoul, South Korea, Friday Feb. 13, 2009. Prosecutors have asked for a prison term of three years and seven months for former world biathlon leader Anders Besseberg. Thursday Feb. 15, 2024, was the last day of five-week trial in Norway for alleged corruption. The verdict is due to be read on April 12 at Buskerud District Court. (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man, File)
FILE - Anders Besseberg, president of International Biathlon Union, or IBU, right, listens to IBU Secretary General Nicole Resch before a press conference of the IBU Biathlon World Championships in Pyeongchang, east of Seoul, South Korea, Friday Feb. 13, 2009. Prosecutors have asked for a prison term of three years and seven months for former world biathlon leader Anders Besseberg. Thursday Feb. 15, 2024, was the last day of five-week trial in Norway for alleged corruption. The verdict is due to be read on April 12 at Buskerud District Court. (AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man, File)

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Prosecutors asked for a prison term of three years and seven months for former world biathlon leader Anders Besseberg on the last day Thursday of his five-week trial in Norway.

The 77-year-old Besseberg has denied charges relating to accepting bribes, a liaison with a prostitute in Moscow, and favoring Russia in doping cases during more than 20 years as president of the International Biathlon Union.

Prosecutor Marianne Djupesland asked the court for the prison sentence, a fine of one million kroner ($95,000) and the seizure of gifts including wristwatches and hunting trophies.

The verdict is due to be read on April 12 at Buskerud District Court.

Besseberg told the court in closing statements he received expensive gifts and went on hunting trips but “never allowed myself to be corrupted.”

The case has also implicated Switzerland-based sports marketing agency Infront which is a long-time commercial partner of the IBU.

Besseberg stepped down in 2018 after a police raid on IBU offices in Austria as part of a multi-nation investigation. It emerged during years of investigations of state-backed doping programs and cover-ups by Russia.

An IBU-commissioned report concluded in 2021 there had been “systematic corrupt and unethical conduct at the very top” of the governing body.

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