President Vladimir Putin must have been aware of what investigators say was an elaborate state-sponsored doping program, a German television documentary quotes whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov as saying.
"Of course it came right from the top, from the president. Because only the president can appoint the domestic secret service FSB for such a specific task," Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia's anti-doping laboratory, said in an ARD documentary to be aired on January 29.
Rodchenkov also confirmed the content of secret documents that, according to ARD, say that state-organized doping practices existed for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and London 2012.
Rodchenkov is under witness protection after fleeing to the United States in 2016.
In May 2016, he described in an interview to The New York Times an elaborate doping scheme that he said involved dozens of Russian athletes at the Sochi Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended Russia in August 2016 over state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi uncovered in a report by Richard McLaren on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
McLaren confirmed many of Rodchenkov's allegations in his reports, and an IOC panel said in November that Rodchenkov was a "truthful witness."
Russian prosecutors have accused him of being largely responsible for the doping scandal.
Based on reporting by dpa and AFP