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MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has conducted searches in a number of Russian regions as part of a probe into criminal cases on violations of the anti-doping rules, Svetlana Petrenko, the committee’s spokeswoman, told TASS on Thursday.
"Today, searches were conducted in a number of regions as part of investigation of these criminal cases. As of today, more than 60 athletes, including Tatiana Chernova, Olga Kaniskina, Anna Chicherova, Tatiana Beloborodova and others, have been questioned," she said. She did not specify however where these searches were conducted.
Apart from that, according to Petrenko, senior officials of the Russian ministry of sport, RUSADA (Russian Anti-Doping Agency), the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF), the Anti-doping Center and the race walking Olympic training center in the republic of Mordovia have been questioned.
She also said that Russia’s Investigative Committee has appointed chemical expertise on WADA doping examinations mentioned in the McLaren report."A chemical forensic study has been appointed on the WADA-recommended methods. Apart from that, a comprehensive criminalistics examination has been appointed to check the McLaren report’s allegation about possible unsealing of Berlinger test tubes," she said.
According to Petrenko, Berlinger has been required to produce quality certificates for its test tubes and reports about checks conducted. "Questioning of officials and CEO of commercial structures that sold Berlinger products to the Anti-doping Center continues," she added.
"At the same time, Russian investigators are working on a legal assistance request from the Paris High Court on a criminal case against officials of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) accused of corruption for conceal doping abuses by athletes," she said, adding that Russian investigators have questioned athlete Lilia Shobukhova and her husband who is her coach concerning this case.
The WADA Independent Commission and its chairman McLaren released a report on July 18 on the results of its probe into the accusations of doping and manipulation of tests by Russian athletes and officials at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
According to the details, the commission claimed it had found evidence that Russia’s Sports Ministry and the Center for the Training of Russian National Teams and the Federal Security Service had covered up a doping program in Russian sports.
The report from WADA’s Commission stated in particular that the commission’s investigation registered a total of 643 cases of Disappearing Positive Test Results in Russia between 2012 and 2015 involving athletes from 30 sports.
Following the commission’s report, WADA recommended the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and all international sports federations ban Russian athletes from all international sports competitions, including Rio 2016.
On June 8, 2016, Russia’s Investigative Committee said it had initiated a criminal case on office abuse charges against managers who worked with ARAF in 2009-2013. The case was opened following a pre-investigation check into data mentioned in the legal assistance request from the Paris court.
On August 23, the Investigative Committee said WADA had presented no concrete evidence of the use of doping by Russian athletes of involvement in such cases of Russian sports officials as requested by the Russian side.
The criminal case was opened against former chief of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov who said after fleeing to the United States that he had disposed of a number of doping samples. To establish all the circumstance of the case, the Russian Investigative Committee said it needs to question WADA President Craig Reedie and independent expert Richard McLaren.