The president of three Russian sports federations, Alexey Vlasenko, who was arrested this week on allegations of fraud, is said to have warned that the move could negatively affect the performance of athletes at the Olympic Games.
The 56-year-old, who heads Russia’s water polo, diving, and synchronized swimming federations, has been charged with large-scale fraud and could face 10 years in prison.
The former adviser to the president of the Russian Olympic Committee is set to be detained until May 16 and is currently in a four-bed “quarantine cell” for new arrivals to the isolation ward.
“We visited Vlasenko in prison,” Marina Litvinovich, a member of the Public Monitoring Committee, told Tass.
“He thinks that the arrest will badly affect the performance of Russian teams at the Tokyo Olympics.
“He is even thinking to ask the prosecutor to release him for the Games. He is ready to return afterwards.”
Russian synchronized swimmers, whose federation has come under Vlasenko’s guidance, are preparing to defend their Olympic title at the Games in four months – and they have been unbeaten on the international circuit for more than 20 years.
“His relatives do not even know where he is, so he is still sitting without packages, letters and money,” said Litvinovich.
“Now we will contact his relatives so that they urgently bring him a change of clothes.
“We asked to have a kettle or a boiler in the cell, which is not there. There is no TV or refrigerator there either. And we also asked to bring him books – in particular, a textbook on English.”