‘No time to ask Russia's opinion, I had enough evidence anyway’ – WADA doping report author to RT

Richard McLaren, a Canadian lawyer and the author of the latest WADA report on alleged doping by Russian athletes, told RT that he did not ask the Russian Sports Ministry to provide any opinions about the doping allegations. McLaren also claimed he had enough evidence, but would not make it public.

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The World Anti-Doping Agency presented the results of Mclaren’s investigation on Tuesday, alleging that Russian athletes were involved in wide-spread doping schemes that were presumably covered up by the state.

McLaren said that he “did not make contact” with Russian officials. After being asked about whether addressing the Russian side could potentially be important to the inquiry, the lawyer stated that he had “evidence that was quite conclusive about what was going on.”

“So I did not need an explanation from somebody else which would amount to a denial of what was going on,” he continued.

Testimony provided by the ex-chief of Moscow’s anti-doping lab, Grigory Rodchenkov was cited by WADA investigators as key evidence. Rodchenkov himself said he was part of the system, and moved to the US following his lab being shut down.

“I do not rely on just his evidence. I rely on the forensic and laboratory analysis evidence to confirm what he said,” McLaren told RT with regards to Rodchenkov’s claims. One of the allegations was that the doping samples had been swapped. “That could be a possibility” said McLaren after he and his team conducted experiments trying to manipulate the test samples.

“All of that scientific and laboratory analytical work confirmed and made me feel more confident about the information that was being provided” the Canadian said.

McLaren also stressed that “certainly it is a possibility” that other states may be engaged in similar schemes. The samples “are capable of being intervened with. We conducted an experiment that confirmed that,” the chief of WADA’s report told RT.

However he refrained from explaining the exact technique being used by his team to simulate the opening of the sample cups. “I’ve elected not to do that. All I can say is that it was developed as an experiment by my experts and they performed it to my satisfaction,” McLaren told us, adding that he is “not interested in putting [in the] ... public domain the technique itself.”

The alleged widespread involvement of the Russian government, the Sports Ministry alongside the Federal Security Service (FSB) was also brought up in Monday’s WADA report.

“The evidence of government connections comes from the electronic data, the revived electronic files that were deleted and other similar sources. It demonstrates e-mail communications, other types of communications, how the system worked right up to the Minister of Sport,” said McLaren. Here he also said that no public access would be given to the data allegedly proving such claims.

“We have all of this evidence locked up. Some of it was provided by way of confidential arrangements. We have not published it but we certainly have it. And we are not going to publish it,” McLaren said, citing the need to provide his sources with anonymity. He also added that there is no intention to publish the names of the sources, since it is enough to give the information to those “who are taking action”.

McLaren conducted his investigation within 57 days, stating that the evidence was solid enough. He admitted that he “would not say” that the team “looked for every possible source. It’s impossible to have done so in 57 days and I will be misleading people if I said I had.”

On Tuesday the International Olympic Committee is set to conduct a telephone conference during which the body will decide the next steps following McLaren’s report.

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