Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation (SKR) says it has uncovered new information which places Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, former Director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, at the centre of an illegal trade in performance-enhancing substances. ‘The investigation questioned witnesses who confirmed that Rodchenkov administered prohibited drugs for illegal profit’, read an SKR statement. ‘It has been established that he illegally acquired these drugs in the US and when selling them, promised customers that the detection of banned substances would be hidden. The investigators have reasons to believe that Rodchenkov was not just a performer, but is the author and organiser of a number of such schemes.’
The statement also points out that Rodchenkov’s sister, Marina Rodchenkova, was convicted in 2012 for supplying drugs. ‘Unfortunately, in the framework of the criminal case, which was conducted by the bodies of the Federal Drug Control Service in Russia, it was not established from whom she purchased the drugs for their subsequent sale’, read the statement. ‘So investigators are going to check those facts’.
In the first World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission report, published in November last year, Rodchenkov ‘admitted to intentionally destroying the 1,417 samples in order to limit the extent of WADA’s audit and to reduce any potential adverse findings from subsequent analysis by another WADA accredited laboratory’. The SKR investigation found that he did this to ‘conceal the use of proscribed substances and escape from criminal responsibility’.
As previously reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative, the SKR appears to be pursuing a criminal prosecution against Rodchenkov for acting alone. Rodchenkov has already admitted developing a ‘cocktail’ of drugs for Russian athletes, however claimed that this was the apex of a decade-long effort to protect Russia’s doping strategy. He alleged that the Russian Ministry of Sport gave him a list of doped Russian athletes on 21 January 2014, before the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. He also alleged that agents of the Russian federal security service (FSB) showed him how to unseal and reseal samples which allowed him to both dope athletes and replace up to 100 samples to help Russia win 33 medals at Sochi 2014, through the use of a secret shadow laboratory – room 124 – which operated alongside the official laboratory.
The SKR has does not appear to be investigating Rodchenkov’s allegations of state collusion in doping Russian athletes. It previously asked US authorities to question Rodchenkov, who is currently in the US, on its behalf. It is unusual for investigative authorities to issue statements during the course of an investigation and this second statement appears to indicate that the SKR is continuing with its attempt to prosecute Rodehcnkov for acting alone.
The SKR does not appear to be considering the above evidence, which also highlights the destruction of 67 samples sent from Moscow to Lausanne; about the existence of a shadow laboratories to cover up positive tests; about recent issues with attempting to test Russian athletes; allegations that banned coaches are still training athletes in Russia; that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) manipulated doping test figures; and more. All of this evidence suggests state collusion, rather than the action of one corrupt official.
On 15 July, another WADA Independent Commission will publish its report into allegations that the laboratory at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics – also run by Rodchenkov – was corrupt. The Sports Integrity Initiative has asked WADA whether the report will consider the fact that Russian authorities only appear to be investigating Rodchenkov, and not potential state collusion. However, unlike the SKR, WADA does not normally comment on ongoing investigations.
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