26 августа 2014 19:40

Alexander Vinokourov charged with corruption


Alexander Vinokurov. Photo  © Yaroslav Radlovsky Alexander Vinokurov. Photo © Yaroslav Radlovsky

Belgian prosecutors have charged Kazakhstani Olympic Champion in Cycling Alexander Vinokourov with “private corruption”, Tengrinews reports citing Vesti.kz.

Belgian prosecutors have charged Kazakhstani Olympic Champion in Cycling Alexander Vinokourov with “private corruption”, Tengrinews reports citing Vesti.kz.

Russian cyclist Alexander Kolobnev faced similar charges. According to the prosecutors, Vinokourov allegedly paid Kolobnev €150 thousand to give in at the finish line of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classical one day race in April 2010.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) initiated an investigation into Alexander Vinokourov and Alexander Kolobnev’s case suspecting them of bribery in 2012.

Corriere della Sera reported that the prosecutors discovered evidences against Vinokourov and Kolobnev in the emails that the two cyclists exchanged before the final of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race and said it could confirm the accusations with details of two money transfers - of 100,000 and 50,000 Euros - made by Vinokourov to Kolobnev account at one of Switzerland’s Locarno banks. The first payment was made on July 12, 2010, while the second was made five months later on December 28. 

They are also looking into a 150,000 Euro payment from the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation into Vinokourov’s bank account. 

Vinokourov, an extremely accomplished cyclists, is now working as the manager of Kazakhstan's Astana Pro Team. Kolobnev is competing as a part of Katyusha team.

Judge Philippe Richard charged the pair with public corruption in May.

Tengrinews contacted Vinokourov and asked him to comment on the new turn the in the case.

“It is a threadbare topic. It seems that someone deliberately raises speculations and tries to create a resonance around this topic. There is nothing I can say about it. I never bribed anyone. Yes, they are investigating the case. When there are no real news, people tend to exaggerate things,” Vinokourov said adding that the prosecutors seemed to be lacking evidences if they were trying to rekindle the media interest to the case.

"This again proves that they have no solid ground, and they are now trying to start a resonance in the media. But it is no longer interesting for foreign journalists, I haven't received a single call from them these days. You were the first to contact me about it," he said.

Alexander Vinokourov, 40, is a former professional road bicycle racer from Kazakhstan and the current general manager of UCI ProTeam Astana. During his cycling career his achievements included two bronze medals at the World Championships, four stage wins in Tour de France, four stage wins in Vuelta a España plus the overall title in 2006, two Liège–Bastogne–Liège monuments, one Amstel Gold Race, and most recently, the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics Men's Road Race. Vinokourov is a past national champion of Kazakhstan, and a dual-medalist at the Summer Olympics.

Vinokourov retired after the Olympics and assumed management duties with Astana for 2013. He is an honorary colonel in the Kazakh army but lives in France with his wife and children.

Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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