Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russia To Seek Doping Whistle-Blower's Extradition From U.S.

Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (file photo)
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (file photo)

Russia’s authorities say they will seek the extradition of Russian whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov, who helped orchestrate the country's state-sponsored Olympic doping program and has since fled to the United States.

In a November 8 statement, the Investigative Committee said a new case was opened against Rodchenkov, and that investigators plan to demand his extradition from the United States.

However, the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.

Rodchenkov, 58, headed Moscow's anti-doping lab that oversaw drug testing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

He headed the lab from 2006 to 2015 before fleeing to the United States.

In September, a Moscow court issued an arrest warrant for Rodchenkov, who had been charged with abuse of office and illegally destroying doping test samples.

The Investigative Committee said in its statement that he is now facing allegations of obstructing the investigation.

It said Rodchenkov is accused of destroying Russian athletes' doping test samples.

He and his former assistant at the Moscow anti-doping lab, Timofei Sobolevsky, are also suspected of trying to bribe Maria Dikunets, who took over the lab after Rodchenkov left Russia, to obtain a database with Russian athletes' doping test samples.

Dikunets refused to cooperate with Rodchenkov and Sobolevsky, who is currently in the United States, after which all her phone talks with the two were recorded, according to the committee.

In May 2016, Rodchenkov 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.

Cover-Up Scheme

A report by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) independent commission issued last year said Rodchenkov had admitted to "intentionally destroying" 1,417 test samples ahead of an audit.

It said Russia's cover-up scheme affected 30 sports and was in operation from 2010 until 2015.

Russia's Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared "noncompliant" with international sports' anti-doping code in November 2015 after revelations by Russian athletes in a documentary broadcast by German television.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly said that his country's anti-doping efforts "failed," but insisted that it never had a state-sponsored system for using banned substances to boost performance in sports.

Russia's track-and-field Olympics squad and entire Paralympics team were barred from Rio 2016 and the country remains banned from international athletics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said it would decide next month on the participation of Russian competitors at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

With reporting by dpa and Reuters
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.