MOSCOW, November 8 (RAPSI) – Russian investigators will seek extradition of ex-Director of the WADA-accredited Moscow Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov, charged with abuse of office, from the United States, the Investigative Committee’s press release reads on Wednesday.
Rodchenkov was officially made a defendant in the criminal case. Investigators believe that he was unlawfully selling prohibited medicines and deliberately destroyed doping tests of Russian athletes.
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.
On 18 May, Professor Richard McLaren from Canada was 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 Investigative Committee’s spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko, allegations made in McLaren’s Report were debunked by Russian investigators. They spoke to hundreds of athletes, coaches, medical professionals living in Russia, who were involved with various sports and anti-doping institutions. None of them confirmed existence of state-wide doping program. If any violations took place they were made only on individual basis, Petrenko asserted.
Several athletes and coaches stated that Rodchenkov himself was distributing substances of unknown purpose, later revealed as doping, the press release reads. After complex tests were conducted by investigative team it was revealed that “anomalies” in results of athletes were caused by peculiarities of physiological processes in kidneys of persons, who underwent physical activity. Other statements made in the Report were similarly debunked and Petrenko notes that WADA has no evidence of mass consumption of doping by Russian athletes.
Also, investigators allege that Rodchenkov, who resides in the U.S. at the moment, and former 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. The database is currently in possession of investigators. Petrenko stated that Rodchenkov’s actions may be classified as obstruction of justice.