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State money cut from biathlon stadium construction over corruption

AFTER the chaotic cancellation of the Deaflympic Games, which were to have been held in the High Tatras at the beginning of this year, Slovakia is now facing another scandal over alleged corruption affecting a sporting event. The government says it will not pay €1.6 million to finish the construction of a stadium in Osrblie which is supposed to host the European Biathlon Championship next year, the TASR newswire reported.

AFTER the chaotic cancellation of the Deaflympic Games, which were to have been held in the High Tatras at the beginning of this year, Slovakia is now facing another scandal over alleged corruption affecting a sporting event. The government says it will not pay €1.6 million to finish the construction of a stadium in Osrblie which is supposed to host the European Biathlon Championship next year, the TASR newswire reported.

“[During the reconstruction of the stadium], a couple of people emerged who began to act as if they had the right to 10 percent of this sum,” Prime Minister Iveta Radičová said, as quoted by TASR, at a press conference held on August 10. “We caught these collectors red-handed before they got their schemes off the ground, however”.

Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic said that at the end of July police identified three men suspected of accepting a bribe of €30,000. One man who is considered the mediator of the bribe was taken into custody. Lipšic said he believes that the number of people involved in the case could be even higher.

“It would be premature to go into the details of the case at this point,” he said, as quoted by TASR.

The organisers of the championship expressed surprise at the government’s announcement. The head of the Slovak Association of Biathletes, Jozef Molčan, said that if the championship did not take place then the future of biathlon in Slovakia could be threatened.

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