17th June 2016

Russian officials offered deal to cover up swimming positives

Former Director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov and Nikita Kamaev, the late Executive Director of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), allegedly offered Russian swimming federation (BON) officials a deal to remove swimmers from the testing pool for a Rub3 million (€40,800) annual fee. WADAprofiles_GRodchenkovAn investigation by The Times has found that the pair met officials from the BON in 2011, and offered to remove two or three swimmers from the registered testing pool (RTP) in return for the money.

‘These are very serious allegations and we urge anyone with relevant evidence to bring it forward to FINA so that we can share with all appropriate authorities and take immediate disciplinary action if required’, read an e-mailed Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) statement. The BON, which has yet to issue a statement, did not take up the offer, it is understood.

The revelations that Rodchenkov has approached swimming officials is concerning because he was Director at the Moscow laboratory at the time of the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. At the time of the Championships, The Sports Integrity Initiative repeatedly asked FINA if it would be sending samples across the border for analysis. It normally works with Swedish company ITDM to analyse samples overseas, however for Kazan it announced that all samples would be analysed in Russia.

A FINA press release confirms that the Kazan tests were analysed by the Moscow laboratory, but states that in 2015, the ‘great majority of the samples collected in Russia were analysed in the WADA-accredited laboratories in Barcelona and Köln’. Earlier this month, outgoing World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Director General, David Howman, said that Rodchenkov may be able to shed light on whether anti-doping laboratories at other major events have also been corrupted. “Rodchenkov was the director of the laboratory for the world athletics championships in 2013, for the world swimming championships, for the Paralympics”, he told The Guardian. “There are other events for which the samples would have been taken and stored”.

WADA has appointed an Independent Commission to examine allegations from Rodchenkov that the Sochi 2014 anti-doping laboratory was compromised. It will produce a report into the allegations by 15 July.

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