Russia calls on US, Canada & Switzerland to assist in anti-doping probe

A meeting of the Independent Public Anti-Doping Commission at the Rossiya Segodnya Multimedia Press Center in Moscow. © Iliya Pitalev
Russia has filed international requests for assistance to the US, Canada and Switzerland in its ongoing probe into doping in sports, the vice head of the Russian Investigative Committee has said.

The action comes as Russia continues to investigate accusations of widespread doping abuse by athletes. Many of the claims were outlined in a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren in July.

“Moscow asked the US for legal support in obtaining evidence regarding the former head of a Moscow anti-doping lab, Grigory Rodchenkov, filed a request to Canada to access the copies of data that the McLaren report was basing on, and to Switzerland, to Berliner, the producer of doping test sample containers, to obtain information and documents pertaining to storing and opening the containers,” Investigative Committee vice head Ilya Lazutov said.

Rodchenkov is behind major doping allegations related to Russia, following his claims that at least 15 Russian athletes were part of a doping scheme for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

A separate international request has been filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, regarding the decision on lawsuits brought by Russian athletes in the summer to overturn the ban on them competing at the Rio Olympics.

The Investigative Committee is yet to receive a response to either of the requests.

At the same time, the committee is investigating all the information related to “the anti-doping rules breach by Russian athletes, coaches, and officials of the Russian Ministry of Sport, the top officials and other employees of the federation of track and field athletics, of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency,” Lazutov added.

He concluded by saying that the athletes had given affidavits that Rodchenkov had persuaded them to the drugs, the qualities of which were not known for certain.

Lazutov also alleged that Rodchenkov was involved in “criminal schemes” and could “develop, create and lead a criminal group.”

Back in May, the New York Times published an article with allegations by Rodchenkov that at least 15 athletes who won medals at the 2014 Sochi Olympics were part of a “state-sponsored” doping program, launched by Russia and aimed at dominating the Games.

Following the article, WADA announced it would conduct its own investigation into Rodchenkov’s claims. The first part of the report was published in mid-July, and urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russian athletes from the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The second part of the report is expected to be released at the beginning of December.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that all officials mentioned in the report would be temporarily suspended from their positions until the investigation is completed.

A special independent public anti-doping commission was set up in Russia for the duration of the probe.

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