19 May 2016

Russian general prosecutor’s office to investigate doping allegations

The Russian general prosecutor’s office today confirmed that it will investigate allegations of Russian doping at the Olympics. ‘The general prosecutor of the Russian Federation, in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, the Russian Ministry of Sport and the Russian Olympic Committee will examine information published by the media and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on the doping of Russian athletes at the Olympics in Beijing, London and Sochi’, read a statement. ‘Within the framework of international legal cooperation, it is planned to direct requests to the competent authorities of the United States and several other countries to exchange information on the alleged use of doping. Relevant information will be requested from the World Anti-Doping Agency.’

It is unclear whether the investigation will examine links between the Sochi and Lausanne anti-doping laboratories, highlighted on Tuesday by The Sports Integrity Initiative. It has since emerged that Natalia Zhelanova, who was promoted to become Russia’s anti-doping advisor last month, played a role at the Sochi laboratory in her previous role as Head of the Anti-Doping Division of the Russian Ministry of Sport.

WADA’s Independent Observer (IO) report for Sochi 2014 found that while all Sochi laboratory staff ‘had been identified in the Laboratory Games Staff list under their ISO 17025 accreditation’, a ‘representative of the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation’ who ‘was not a part of the Laboratory Games staff and the IOC Medical Commission’ and ‘whose role was unclear to the IO’ was also present. Could this have been Zhelanova, or the Russian federal security service (FSB) agent who Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov alleged had begun working at the Moscow Laboratory in 2013, and showed him how to open and re-seal the tamper-proof sample bottles?

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