As Valentin Piseyev, President of Russia's Federation of Figure Skating said today at a press conference, the Federation has had no connection with Alimjan Takhtakhunov. He added, 'No one who represented Russian Figure Skating in Salt Lake City had ever met with Takhtakhunov'.
Mr. Piseyev reminded that after the special commission investigating the correctness of the judges' decisions had reported on its findings, Russia's Federation of Figure Skating had been told of no improprieties on its part. 'Although we were indignant because Irina Slutskaya had lost her gold medal and that the second set of gold medals had been given to the Canadian pair, we were satisfied that the issue was closed. Now the issue of Takhtakghunov comes out of the blue'.
Tamara Moskvina, the coach of Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, said, 'Soviet and then Russian figure skaters have been the world's best since 1964. Yet this monopoly was good only where we were concerned. What is happening now is the kind of competition where we lose the informational war only because we are honest'.
Alimjan Takhtakhunov who was recently arrested in Italy is suspected of meddling in medals distribution at the Salt Lake City winter Olympics. He is alleged to be one of the leaders of Moscow's "Izmailovsky" crime group. He is also a suspected dealer in drugs, arms, and stolen cars. Some say he was involved in pressuring judges in Olympic figure skating, which has allegedly resulted in Marina Anisina and Gwendal Peizerat receiving gold medals while Russian pair, Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh came up second.