HOKKSUND (VG) March 2011: Anders Beseberg has acquired a $195,000 watch from Russian Sergei Kushchenko. May 2011: Pieseberg believes Kushchenko should succeed him as IBU president.
Last week, the just-delivered watch pictured above became the subject of the Bseberg trial. He earned it in March 2011, during the Biathlon World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
The value was NOK 195,000. Donor: President of the International Russian Broadcasting Union, Sergei Kushchenko.
On Thursday afternoon, the Russian's name appeared again in the Buskerud District Court.
Because when Austrian police raided the rights company Infront Austria, they found emails that are now being submitted to the court in Hoksund. One of them is dated May 24, 2011. It is an internal email sent from Volker Schmid to Bruno Marti.
This comes two months after Kochenko gave Bseberg a watch worth NOK 195,000.
“Hello Bruno. This will be followed by a detailed oral report on my conversation with Anders in Salzburg on Sunday 22 May and Monday 23 May at the earliest opportunity. […] I can already say that Anders is paving the way in the Governing Council and with Member States for the election of Sergei Kushchenko as the new President of the IBU at the Congress in 2014. Anders has decided not to stand for election, but should be elected as Honorary President. At the conference.”
Beseberg has referred to dispatcher Volker Schmid as a “mentor” and “sparring partner” in court in recent days. The two have hunted together for nearly three decades and have also on occasion discussed issues related to IBU.
– I cannot remember such an encounter, and I am reading it now for the first time. “It was definitely a phone conversation in which he (Volker Schmid) called me,” Beseberg said in court on Thursday.
– You talked about the presidential elections, and the election of Sergei Kushchenko as a new president, and that you do not want to run in the elections? The prosecutor asked.
– Yes, I have said that many times, the 77-year-old replied.
Bseberg did not open the package he received in March 2011 until he returned to his native Norway. Only much later, at an airport in Switzerland, did he realize how expensive the watch was, he told the court.
This may have happened sometime in June or July 2011, Beseberg said Friday.
Peseberg said from the witness stand that he initially wanted to return the watch, but decided it might not be worth it “after everything he's done in biathlon.”
VG met with Besseberg's lawyer Mikkel Toft Gimse after the end of the court day in Hoksund on Thursday:
– In March 2011, Bseberg received an Omega watch worth NOK 195,000 from Koschenko. Now emails dating back to May of the same year have emerged in which Bseberg allegedly claims that Kochenko should succeed him as IBU president. How do you see that?
– We will return to that in this procedure. It will be very procedural, Gemsy says.
The same question was asked of Prosecutor Marianne Djobsland:
– I cannot comment on that specifically. But part of our evidence was based on the relationship between the giver and the recipient of the various benefits. The First Prosecutor also says that the relationship between Kochenko and Besseberg, which we believe is important to assess whether these are undeserved advantages given on the occasion of the position.
The prosecution did not follow up on the connection raised by VG in this case during negotiations in Hoksund on Thursday. Perhaps because the topic was the relationship between Anders Bisberg on the one hand, and Infront/Volker Schmid on the other.
Norwegian law does not require that, in order to convict someone of corruption, the beneficiary of the benefit must have given something in return. This is for Receive An undue advantage may in itself be sufficient.
Anders Pseberg turned around and won re-election in 2014 as well.
Four years later, in 2018, he would step down again. But he once again opened the door to continuation if a suitable successor did not appear. Bseberg thought at the time that Norwegian Tore Boegaard – who was younger than him – was old.
Beseberg told court on Thursday that he wanted a French woman, whom he did not name, to succeed him.
– Then I wanted Ole Einar Bjorndalen to be on board. Not directly as president, but as a member of the board, and so on from there,” Beseberg said.
He was forced to step down as IBU president before elections in 2018. When police raided his farm and the IBU offices in Salzburg, more than 25 years of Beseberg's leadership at the IBU came to an end.
Today, the 77-year-old is charged with gross corruption, with a maximum penalty of ten years of unconditional imprisonment. He denies any criminal wrongdoing. The trial continues until February 16.
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