The Skating Diva Reports: Marina Anissina Knew Russian Mobster
The other skate is dropping: It appears the Olympic Ice Dancing Gold Medalist Marina Anissina (left) had met and knew Russian Mobster, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who was arrested in Italy last week over a vote-swapping deal at the Salt Lake City Olympics Ice Dance and Pairs Events.
Marina Anissina and her partner Gwendal Peizerat, of France, were present at a press conference yesterday in Arles France prior to an exhibition to plead their innocence to the media with Olympic Pairs Gold Medalists Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, of Russia.
It should be known that Anissina was born in Russia and moved to France several years ago. Marina Anissina is now a French citizen. Within the skating world it is a known fact that Anissina deliberately moved and gained French citizenship with the help of the French Skating Federation, in order to compete with Peizerat. This allowed the team to be able to gain the French Skating Federation's favor and a higher world ranking in record time. (This country-moving could be a subject of an entire set of articles, where former Russian Skaters and Coaches fled Russia in order to continue skating or move into prefered world ranked positions by changing citizenship.)
Anissina said Monday she met Tokhtakhounov in 1999 at a reception and kept in occasional contact with him. "We spoke on the telephone from time to time. But I never asked him for anything, I never telephoned him (after the Olympics). I am sure that that is not my voice," she said. "I don't know who my mother called, but I am sure that she didn't do that, either."
CBS Sportsline is reporting: A woman, who is not identified in court papers, tells Tokhtakhounov she and her partner could have won without his help, the complaint says. In an earlier phone conversation, the woman's mother spoke to the suspect, prosecutors contend.
However the plott is thickening when Didier Gailhaguet, the Head of the French Skating Federation, acknowledged meeting Tokhtakhounov -- and he said French authorities had cautioned him against getting to know the Russian.
Gee wonder why?
Then in 2000, Tokhtakhounov asked to meet with Gailhaguet about financing the formation of a Paris hockey team. The two spoke for a half-hour, Gailhaguet said. Later, Gailhaguet received a call from Topkhtakhounov asked Gailhaguet for help in obtaining Tokhtakhounov a visa. Gailhaguet says he ignored the request, but Tokhtakhounov's secretary called back, and at that time he contacted French authorities as to inquire about what Tokhtakhounov's problem might be. French authorities advised Gailhaguet to avoid further contact with Tokhtakhounov, and Gailhaguet said he hasn't spoken to him since.
Uh huh... sure. So who else from the French Skating Federation or the ISU spoke to Tokhtakhounov? Let's see may be Speedy or Anissina's mother? And why would former Olympic Judge, Marie Marie-Reine Le Gougne say in front of several other judges that she had been pressured by Gailhaguet to vote for the Russians? And then later recant her story when the IOC came down on the ISU like a ton of bricks on international television when every one in the house knew the pairs event had been fixed?
Something doesn't add up kids. And we still haven't heard from the Russian Skating Federation and a possible inquiry of their Olympic Judges. This story is just getting started. Fasten your seat belts. Jack Rogge, IOC President has launch his own investigation, and they won't play nearly as nice as the FBI.