Russian Criminal Investigation Opened Against Moscow Laboratory Chief Turned Whistleblower Rodchenkov
A criminal case has been opened today by Russian Federal investigators against former Moscow Laboratory chief Grigory Rodchenkov, the official who has since made allegations of state-sponsored doping surrounding the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
Rodchenkov, who has now left Russia for Los Angeles, is accused by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) of ordering subordinates in 2014 to recycle samples despite pledging to store them until further notice.
“The criminal proceedings were opened on charges of abuse of authority,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told the TASS News Agency.
“The investigation will look into materials published in some media, where in interviews the former official alleged many violations of anti-doping regulations in Russian sport, including with his participation,” TASS added.
This announcement comes just a day after Russia’s suspension from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was maintained here, meaning no Russian-based athletes are set to compete at August’s Olympic Games. Rodchenkov did not make allegations which affected this inquiry, but his claims that up to 15 home medal winners were involved in a clandestine anti-doping operation at Sochi 2014, which was “so effective it ran like a Swiss Watch”, are currently being investigated by WADA.
“Rodchenkov used his authority despite the legal interests of the aforementioned organization and with the purpose of gaining personal advantages and benefits, thus having abused rights and legal interests,” Markin added.
“The Anti-Doping Center lost the right for work.
“Rodchenkov’s activities also have affected the interests of state, damaging its reputation, discrediting the country’s anti-doping policies, and caused revoking of the international license from the laboratory, which had been established at [the] expense of the federal budget.”
Some will interpret the timing of the announcement of the investigation against Rodchenkov as significant, coming just a day after the IAAF verdict, although it does follow similar proceedings being begun against officials from the All-Russian Athletic Federation earlier this month. Russian figures are still fiercely opposed to the IAAF decision, claiming it violated the rights of clean athletes and destroyed the principle of innocent until proven guilty. One of those affected, two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva, has already vowed to appeal to an unspecified human rights court. She has now slammed the ban as “politically motivated”.
“I can say one thing: no matter how much they may have argued that there is no politics involved, in my opinion, this is pure politics,” the athlete told R-Sport.
“And obviously this decision was taken, guided by something, but not the Olympic principles, not the principles of sport.
“In my opinion, this is pure politics, because no sport principle has been taken into account.”
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.