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Russian Bank To Sue World Anti-Doping Agency Officials

Russia's leading lender, the state-controlled VTB Bank, is preparing a lawsuit against 10 officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

VTB head Andrei Kostin said on January 22 the bank will sue all the officials who signed WADA reports recommending a probe into his bank's membership in the sponsorship pool of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Last week WADA's Independent Commission published a report that included an allegation concerning the legitimacy of a 2007 VTB sponsorship deal with the IAAF that was extended for two more years in 2013.

It also criticized the bank's alleged acquisition of the broadcasting rights for the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow. WADA suspects the fee was raised from around $6 million to $25 million in exchange for an agreement not to suspend Russian athletes caught using performance-enhancing drugs.

On January 7, the IAAF Ethics Committee imposed lifetime bans from all athletics on former All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) head Valentin Balaknichev, former IAAF representative Papa Massata Diack, and former ARAF national team long-distance running coach Aleksei Melnikov.

Last year Russia was suspended from world athletics following WADA accusations of widespread and state-sanctioned doping.

Based on reporting by TASS and RIA