Former IBU President Anders Besseberg was not interviewed but the ERC received a statement ©Getty Images

The International Biathlon Union’s (IBU) External Review Commission (ERC) has concluded the governing body did not transfer "dirty" athlete biological passport profiles (ABP) to the Russian Biathlon Union (RBU) or Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to be buried, but determined several individuals may have breached rules between 2008 and 2018.

ERC chairman Jonathan Taylor presented a report at the IBU Congress on the progress of the investigation.

Taylor confirmed the two-year investigation has been completed, with a draft report written.

The review was established by IBU President Olle Dahlin, following his election, to investigate allegations from the past.

The IBU ERC came about largely as a result of criminal investigations focused on doping, fraud and corruption against the organisation's former President Anders Besseberg and secretary general Nicole Resch.

This included allegations made by the WADA intelligence and investigations (I&I) department that Besseberg had covered up anti-doping rule violations by Russian biathletes with the assistance of Resch.

It was also alleged that delegates at the 2016 IBU Congress had been bribed to vote in favour of the 2021 World Championships being held in Tyumen in Russia.

Besseberg and Resch, who both resigned following the opening of criminal proceedings in Norway and Austria, have denied any wrongdoing.

The ERC report said Besseberg declined to be interviewed while the criminal investigation was pending, while Resch was "unable to submit to interview within investigation timeline due to health reasons".

The ERC said it had received statements from Besseberg and Resch, which were given to criminal authorities.

Former Russian Biathlon Union President Alexander Kravtsov had agreed to answer written questions but failed to do so, with the official now under house arrest in Russia on suspicion of embezzling federal funds.

Former RBU chief executive and IBU vice-president Sergey Kushchenko agreed but then declined to be interviewed, citing concerns over data protection.

Nicole Resch and Anders Besseberg were among the officials investigated by the ERC ©Getty Images
Nicole Resch and Anders Besseberg were among the officials investigated by the ERC ©Getty Images

The ERC said there was a conspiracy to cover up that doping, with its presentation highlighting eight cases involving Russian biathletes which were covered up and only dealt with years after the event.

Taylor said the ERC has concluded that the IBU did not transfer any "dirty" ABP profiles to the RBU or RUSADA to be buried, however.

Provisional ERC findings are that certain individuals have cases to answer for breaches of the IBU rules in the period from 2008 to 2018.

Those individuals have now been given a chance to comment on the draft report, with the ERC saying once their comments have been considered, the report will be finalised and published.

This is likely to be in December, although criminal investigations in Austria and Norway against former IBU officials are still ongoing.

The ERC said where the final report outlines that individuals have cases to answer for breaching IBU rules, it will be up to the Biathlon Integrity Unit (BIU) to conduct the necessary follow-ups.

This will include determining whether disciplinary action should be taken against those individuals.

The ERC said that the BIU can bring cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, however it noted that having a case to answer does not necessarily lead to a charge.

The BIU will also take over the responsibility of supporting the criminal authorities as necessary from the IBU’s side, as the mandate of the ERC ends with the publication of its final report.

More than 70,000 documents and electronic files were reviewed during the investigation, including criminal files, WADA investigation files, IBU internal documents, documents provided by RBU and RUSADA, and analytical data from IBU testing and WADA-accredited analysis of doping samples.

The ERC said it worked closely with the WADA I&I department and criminal authorities in Austria and Norway.

The Russian Biathlon Union was demoted to provisional IBU status in December 2017 ©Getty Images
The Russian Biathlon Union was demoted to provisional IBU status in December 2017 ©Getty Images

Around 60 people were interviewed as part of the investigation.

The final report is expected to outline whether Besseberg and Resch received benefits of any kind to favour Russian interests, whether they compromised the IBU anti-doping programme to favour Russian interests, and whether the officials followed-up properly on evidence of other Russian wrongdoing.

It will also assess whether there was an adequate investigation of a recombinant protein (rEPO) syringe found at 2015 IBU World Cup in Antholz.

Findings will also address the award of the 2021 IBU World Championships to Tyumen in Russia, whether the IBU responded properly to the McLaren Report and he IBU’s response to Schmid Report and LIMS evidence.

This includes the decision not to move final 2017-2018 IBU World Cup event from Tyumen.

The ERC’s mandate had also included helping to strengthen the IBU’s governance structure.

This process was completed at the 2019 Congress, which saw a new constitution adopted, introducing eligibility criteria assessed by a Vetting Panel, term limits for IBU officials, a new IBU Integrity Code and the BIU created.

The latest report can be accessed here.