WASHINGTON -- The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into alleged state-sponsored doping by dozens of Russian athletes.
The report says the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is examining the role of Russian government officials, coaches, athletes, and others as part of the probe.
The reported investigation comes amid a growing scandal surrounding Russian sports and doping allegations.
Last week, a former Russian anti-doping official described for The New York Times an elaborate system to hide doping results by Russian athletes at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.
On May 15, Russia’s sports minister apologized for his country's deepening doping scandal and pleaded for Russia's athletes to be allowed to compete in the upcoming 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on May 17.
Nellin McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to comment on the report.
U.S. prosecutors have been permitted by courts to bring cases against foreigners living abroad if they can show a connection to the United States, such as the use of a U.S. bank.
With reporting by Reuters