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Russian Investigative Committee Probing Former Anti-Doping Chief

  • RFE/RL

Russian investigators have opened a criminal probe into the former director of the country's anti-doping laboratory, after he publicly detailed a vast state-sponsored system to help Russian athletes improve their performance.

The national Investigative Committee said on June 18 it was looking at Girgory Rodchenkov for alleged abuse of authority.

The announcement came one day after the world governing body for track-and-field athletes -- the International Association of Athletics Federations -- announced that Russia's athletes would not be allowed to compete in the Summer Olympics in Brazil.

That decision was later endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.

Rodchenkov used to run the Russian laboratory in charge of testing sportsmen and women for performance-enhancing drugs.

He later fled to the United States where earlier this year he detailed a sophisticated system involving security agents to hide tainted urine samples during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The Kremlin has slammed Rodchenkov's statements as a "turncoat's slander."

Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, for whom the Sochi games were a crowning point of his presidency, have alternated between contrition and anger as the doping scandal has blossomed.

But the decision to bar Russian track-and-field athletes from the Rio games sparked angry recriminations. Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko was quoted by the news agency R Sport on June 19 as saying that the IAAF had “disabused themselves of all responsibility” and ought to be dissolved.

He also suggested the IAAF chief, Sebastian Coe, had received bribes in order to conceal some athletes’ doping samples.

Coe is not the subject of a criminal investigation, nor has he been accused of taking a bribe or hiding doping samples.

Dick Pound, a Canadian who was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, suggested on June 19 that the entire Russian Olympic team might be barred from Rio over the scandal.

With reporting by R Sport and AFP