Russian organised crime may have been behind the failure of Salzburg’s bid to play host to the 2014 Winter Olympics. German news reports suggest the director of the Salzburg Olympic Bid Committee, Fedor Radmann, may have been blackmailed by Russian criminals and forced to resign after his short term of office in January 2007, according to a report in the Local.
Radmann denies the allegation he was being blackmailed.
As long ago as January, ABC News claimed that “a mysterious Russian businessman” who had helped win the games for Russia was in fact an international heroin kingpin.
Now the German newspaper German Bild am Sonntag alleges that President Putin used dirty tricks to secure the games for Sochi. It claims that Russian organised crime was asked to make sure the Austrian bid would not be a contender.
“German security authorities have been presented with detailed evidence of the unscrupulous actions of the Russians,” according to the report. It alleges that in July 2006 a German surveillance team observed a meeting between Russian government officials and criminal bosses in a restaurant in Munich. The subject was the Olympic bid, which was to be decided in 2007.
Two months later, Radmann was said to have been observed by security authorities with members of Russian organised crime. At a press conference in January 2007, he tearfully announced he was stepping down from the Salzburg Olympic Bid Committee “for health reasons.” In July 2007 Russia was awarded the games.
Bild am Sonntag said that a senior sports official had confirmed that Radmann had felt threatened. “He was afraid for his life,” the official was quoted as saying.