Russian investigators offer WADA cooperation in doping scandal case
MOSCOW, November 13 (RAPSI) – An offer for cooperation in a criminal case on abuse of power and destruction of doping test results by the Moscow anti-doping laboratory’s ex-chief Gregory Rodchenkov has been forwarded to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Russia’s Investigative Committee’s press service reports Monday.
WADA has announced on its website that the organization has an electronic database of the Anti-Doping Center laboratory information system containing information on athletes’ tests from 2012 to 2015 at its disposal. Russia proposed cooperation in the base’s analysis, the statement reads.
On November 8, investigators announced that they would seek extradition of Rodchenkov from the United States. Investigators believe that he was unlawfully selling prohibited medicines and deliberately destroyed doping test results of Russian athletes. He also induced athletes to use banned medicines, while he was to fight against doping, according to the Investigative Committee.
Several athletes and coaches have already testified against Rodchenkov. They said that Rodchenkov himself was distributing substances of unknown purpose, later revealed as doping, investigators said earlier.
Also, investigators allege that Rodchenkov, who resides in the U.S. at the moment, and ex-head of doping control department Timofey Sobolevsky repeatedly tried to bribe head of the Anti-Doping Center Maria Dikunets into transferring them a database of athletes’ tests in exchange for money and asylum or citizenship of the United States or Canada.
In May 2016, The New York Times published an article citing Rodchenkov, who maintained that at least 15 Russian athletes winning gold medals in Sochi were involved in a Russian “doping program” aimed to dominate its home Olympics.
Professor Richard McLaren from Canada has been appointed by WADA as the Independent Person (IP) to head an investigative team charged with determining the facts with respect to the allegations of manipulation of doping control samples and other allegations made by Rodchenkov.
In mid-July 2016, the first part of the so-called McLaren Report was presented by McLaren acting as an independent person in a probe into alleged state-sponsored cover up and manipulation of the doping control process. At that time, the authors stated that the Russian sport authorities were aware of these facts; moreover, certain officials directly participated in falsifications.
According to the first part of the report, the work of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory was allegedly aimed at protection of Russian athletes taking prohibited substances, whereas the Sochi anti-doping laboratory developed a system of samples swapping during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The second part of the report, stating that “over 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter, and Paralympic sports could be identified as being involved in or benefitting from manipulations to conceal positive doping tests”, was released in December 2016. However, investigation conducted in Russia has refuted McLaren’s arguments that positive doping test results of Russian athletes had been replaced with negative ones during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, as well as allegations that there is a state doping program in Russia for winning maximum medals, according to the Investigative Committee.