Russian State Duma deputy Magomed Gadzhiev has denied he gave $1million to Olympic freestyle wrestling champion Abdulrashid 'Russian tank' Sadulaev and maintains he simply met with the double-champ to congratulate him.
Dagestan native Sadulaev notched gold in the men's 97kg at Tokyo 2020 to add to his 86kg Olympic title won at Rio 2016 and upon his return to Russia, RIA Novosti reported he had been given a cool million dollars by fellow Dagestani and State Duma governor Gadzhiev.
"State Duma deputy Magomed Gadzhiev, who decided to encourage me with $1 million for winning the Tokyo Olympics," the outlet reported Sadulaev as saying, which was quickly picked up by many leading Russian sports outlets, despite the four-time world champion not mentioning a sum on his own Instagram page despite featuring the same words to caption the post.
The headlines were questioned by incredulous readers who wondered where a simple government official - who's background is in taxes and for the last 10 years had earned around $737,000 - had got his hands on a fortune to give away on a whim.
However, a representative for Gadzhiev later claimed the governor of Dagestan's eastern Kayakentsky District gave no such sum changed hands and the official simply invited his fellow Dagestani to simply congratulate him without money changing hands, Russian sports site RBK reported on Thursday.
It's not the first time Sadulaev has been the victim of fake news, the 25-year-old earlier told how he does not own a Twitter account yet there are a number of imposters on the social media site posing as the muscle-bound champ.