Tikhonov convicted of foiled slaying, but freed by amnesty

Updated: July 23, 2007, 9:31 AM ET
Associated Press

MOSCOW -- Four-time Olympic biathlon relay champion Alexander Tikhonov was convicted Monday of involvement in a foiled slaying and sentenced to three years in prison.

However, he was immediately freed under a general amnesty passed by the lower house of the Russian parliament in 2000.

Tikhonov, who won gold medals in the 4x7.5-kilometer relay at four Olympics from 1968 to 1980, was charged in a plot to poison Aman Tuleyev, governor of the Kemerovo region, in 2000.

Tikhonov appeared Monday in court in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and denied any involvement.

He was arrested in August 2000, but released a month later for health reasons. He has remained active in the sport and now serves as president of the Union of Russian Biathletes.

Prosecutors said Tuleyev's killing was ordered by the head of a metals company that had been in conflict with the governor and effectively driven out of the Siberian region.

Tikhonov's younger brother, Viktor, was sentenced in 2002 to four years in connection with the same plot.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press