Russia sends request to U.S. on questioning of ex-anti-doping lab chief

Grigory Rodchenkov.

Grigory Rodchenkov.

Vitaly Belousov / TASS
Russian investigators open criminal proceedings against Rodchenkov in June

Russia’s Investigative Committee has sent a request to the United States demanding to question former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov, Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on June 27.

"We have sent a request on legal assistance to the US competent bodies so that they interrogate him on our questions. Let’s see how they will implement this request," Markin told the Vesti FM radio station.

"Judging by his (Rodchenkov’s) words and his explanations hysterics, it is not ruled out that this was done to discredit the Russian anti-doping system and provoke a scandal," Markin said.

On June 18, the Russian Investigative Committee opened criminal proceedings against former Head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov. The criminal proceedings were opened on charges of abuse of authority. In particular, Rodchenkov said he substituted more than 100 samples taken from Russian athletes during the Sochi Olympics. On June 8, the Investigative Committee also opened a criminal case against the persons who managed the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) in 2009-2013 over office abuse, which cause disqualification of athletes over doping use.

The investigation will look into materials published in some media, where in interviews the former official claimed many violations of the anti-doping regulations in the Russian sports, including with his participation, and also into the information presented in report of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of November 9, 2015, related to Rodchenkov's orders to discard on December 12, 2014 doping probes, which violated international standards, the spokesman said.

Case details

"According to the preliminary investigation, in the course of the probe, WADA on December 9, 2014, sent a letter to Grigory Rodchenkov, the then director of the Anti-Doping Center, demanding all probes in the organization, which had been taken over previous three months beginning from September 10, 2014, and those taken later on, were frozen and kept respectively till further instructions from WADA," Markin said. "Having read the letter, Grigory Rodchenkov on December 10, 2014 confirmed by e-mail receipt of the letter on keeping the probes, assuring the samples were kept properly."

"However, on December 12, 2014, he, having the intention to conceal drawbacks and violations in his work and thus retain the managing position and in violation of the Anti-Doping Laboratory’s regulations, the labor contract, the WADA international standards and the letter from WADA regarding the keeping of the probes, issued … an oral demand to discard 1,437 probes, where 22 probes had been kept by then for less than three months." On that very day, the staff discarded the samples.

Consequences

"Thus, Rodchenkov used his authority despite the legal interests of the aforementioned organization and with the purpose of gaining personal advantages and benefits, thus having abused rights and legal interests," the spokesman said.

The Investigative Committee’s spokesman said earlier the authority had begun proceedings against those persons who in 2009-2013 were top officials at the Russian Athletics Federation, "where abuse of authorities seems evident."

"The Investigative Committee will investigate thoroughly into these cases. The main objective of our detectives is to find the truth, which some may not like, of course. However, I can guarantee the investigation will be overwhelming, full, objective, and, surely, open for as much as it may be," he said. "We shall report the investigation results to the Russian and to the foreign public."

Source: Tass.com

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