Ex-Olympic skater charged with defrauding virus relief fund

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NEW YORK (AP) — A former Olympic figure skater has been arrested on charges that he ripped off a program to help struggling small businesses harmed by the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said Tuesday.

Luka Klasinc, a 48-year-old Slovenian man, was arrested Monday and awaited an appearance in Manhattan federal court. A message seeking comment was left with his lawyer.

He was charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said Klasinc used false documents to try to get over $1 million in aid for his event management company, which he said stages major ice-themed amusement park style events worldwide.

“At a time when U.S. small businesses were struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Klasinc thought he could scam his way to easy money,” Strauss said.

“His plans have been put on ice. He will now be held accountable for his alleged brazen lies,” she added.

Klasinc, who finished 26th at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, was charged with trying to defraud the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans program.

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