How IBU head Anders Besseberg was seduced in Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism) by hunting and young ladies

How IBU head Anders Besseberg was seduced in Russia country How IBU head Anders Besseberg was seduced in Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism) by hunting and young ladies

Anders Besseberg

Anders Besseberg headed the International Biathlon Union (IBU) for more than 25 years. Now the 77-year-old Norwegian is facing corruption charges.

The prosecution claims that Besseberg received bribes in the form of watches, used the services of prostitutes who were paid by others (sometimes by the management of the Russian biathlon), and agreed to free hunting trips.

NRK journalists contacted many people to find out what really happened around Besseberg during his 25 years as head of world biathlon.

This is a translation of a large text in Norwegian.

Anders Besseberg with Emil Hegle Svensen and Tiril Eckhoff

Anders Besseberg with Emil Hegle Svensen and Tiril Eckhoff at a party in Khanty 2015

Besseberg himself, according to the report following an investigation by an independent IBU commission, claimed that the women who accompanied him at official events in Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism) were translators.

Bjorn Ferry, Olympic champion from Sweden, remembers evenings at the On Seven Hills Hotel in Khanty-Mansiysk. Both the biathletes themselves and the management stayed there.

“We saw ladies in super short dresses knocking on hotel doors. After some time, these women came out of there. It was like prostitution. There were things happening in biathlon that should have caused more people to react.”

“The Russians offered the services of prostitutes even to me,” says one of the most titled French biathletes, Raphael Poiret. Towards the end of his career (2007), he received an offer that shocked him.

“Rafael, if you want, we can send several women to your room,” recalls Poiret about what was offered to him during the competition in Khanty-Mansiysk. The proposal came from high-ranking officials from the RBU (the biathlete did not name specific names), but Poiret was not at all interested in this.

However, as other biathletes recall, such “entertainment” was not at all alien to everyone. One day, the noise in the next room became so loud that the athletes of the Czech national team were forced to complain to the hotel staff.

“Yes, our girls did complain about the noise in the next room,” says Michal Slesingr, who was on the Czech team at the time.

“It seems that offering such services was common among managers at various levels when the competition was held in Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism),” Ferry notes.

Alexander Tikhonov

Alexander Tikhonov

“He came up and asked if we wanted to go hunting. It was an exciting idea. Anders also wanted to come with us,” says Lund and shares photos from the trip.


“People with power revolved around Besseberg. Biathlon was becoming big business,” he adds.

The flight took several hours. In the helicopter were Alexander Tikhonov and Viktor Mamatov, as well as four or five security guards. The mayor of the city was also present. Lund also remembers the young woman – it was a mystery to him why she flew with everyone else.


Now Lund is sure that it was a prostitute. According to him, she was very young: “She was probably 17 or 18 years old.” Then he thought about it, but said nothing.

Several people hunted directly from a helicopter. “We only shot two deer,” says Lund, who says Besseberg hit the target from above.

Anders Besseberg
Anders Besseberg

After the hunt, the whole company was brought to the recreation center.

“As time went. Three hours later I told Besseberg that it was time to leave. In the evening he was supposed to perform in the city square. A dinner for international delegates was also planned. And we are stuck here, far from the city. But Anders didn’t care.”

When they finally returned to Khanty-Mansiysk, it was pitch dark – around 10 or 11 p.m.

“Everyone was taken away in cars, except me and Anders. After a while, a bus picked us up and took us to the hotel.

[…] There was a feeling that someone wanted to make Besseberg look bad. After that I realized that it was better to beware of the Russians,” says Lund.

Anders Besseberg
Anders Besseberg (second from left), 11/10/2021, “Besseberg was lured into a Russian trap, made a laughing stock.” A setup from Alexander Tikhonov – he abandoned the head of biathlon on the runway”: […] Besseberg was taken on hunting trips – one of such trips is described in the book “The King of Sponsors” by Jorn Lekve. This is the biography of Jakob Lund, an important figure in biathlon during the Besseberg era. Lund worked as director of sponsorship for the Norwegian companies NKP, Vital and DNB and collaborated with the IBU until 2012. And then he defended Anders during the scandal. Below is an excerpt from the book “The King of Sponsors.” […]

“And we stood there. Completely alone on a bare runway. The cold was freezing. A strong wind blew. As time went. An hour has passed. And even more. It was damn cold. Eventually we saw an old bus at the end of the runway, slowly heading towards us. The road to the hotel was long. We entered it just as the guests were leaving after dinner.”

He pauses, selects his words: “And then I understood everything. Everything was staged in a grand manner.”

Jacob raises his finger, curses, coughs and clearly states:

“Of course it was a game. Besseberg was lured into a Russian trap. They made him a public laughing stock and made him look like a fool. We stood there together, in the middle of the hall. Untidy, cold and tired after a long day of hunting. We smelled bad. The smartly dressed heads of biathlon federations of other countries looked at us. Some people looked strange. And no wonder, I guess we didn’t look good.”

Jacob then relayed what one of the guests had said as they walked toward the elevator. During dinner, everyone was informed: “Unfortunately, Besseberg will not be able to attend the end-of-season dinner because he is feeling very unwell after his hunting trip.” — Insert

13 watches were confiscated from Besseberg, and Tikhonov was not considered a reliable witness

[…] Former Secretary General of the Norwegian Biathlon Federation Raquel Rauntoun recalls that Besseberg once demonstrated a watch. She was surprised that a seemingly simple item could cost so much.

In the fall of 2012, Holmenkollen received the right to host the Biathlon World Championships. It was during a dinner with the organizer of the World Cup and leading Norwegian biathletes that the head of the IBU boasted about the gift.

“It was a watch. He received them from Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism), and this gift was very valuable to him. He was naively surprised that he received such a nice gift,” said Rauntoon.

“We knew he was getting gifts, but maybe we didn’t pay too much attention to it. They knew that he was given expensive things. He showed them to us and talked about them. He showed me a watch for 100 thousand Norwegian kroner (about 9.6 thousand dollars at the current exchange rate – and said: “I have a better one.”

“Besseberg talked about the impressions he received in Russia (*country sponsor of terrorism), about nightclubs, hunting trips in a helicopter,” says former head of the Norwegian Biathlon Union Erlend Slokvik.

“I have not received a crown, a euro, or a dollar from any Russian,” Besseberg said immediately after the accusations against him were made public. He refused to comment on the watch story.

Alexander Tikhonov talks about Russian hospitality when he mentions the hunting trips he took with Besseberg:

“We Russians are a hospitable nation. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Moreover, we did not violate any hunting rules. We hunted during the season. Besseberg was invited as a friend. I don’t see corruption in this,” he says.

When Tikhonov was interrogated by the commission investigating the Besseberg case, the authority of his testimony was called into question.

“Overall, the commission does not consider Mr. Tikhonov a reliable witness,” the report says. It is noted that some of what he said coincides with what other people reported.

Tikhonov denies that during his time there were attempts to influence Besseberg from the Russian side. “I wouldn’t allow that,” he says. He also denies that he gave Besseberg expensive gifts; At the same time, the former head of the RRF does not know what others did after his departure from leadership.

“But why not? Of course, maybe someone gave something,” says Tikhonov. He considers such situations harmless: “These are friendly gifts, nothing dangerous.”

At the same time, he does not believe that anyone in the Russian biathlon federation paid for the services of prostitutes for Besseberg.

When Besseberg was taken in for questioning, 13 watches were confiscated from him. They also found cash in various currencies on him. His bank accounts are being checked. It also became known that the former head of the IBU was bugged from time to time. […]