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Moscow City Court upholds arrest in absentia of WADA informer Rodchenkov

February 19, 19:05 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Moscow City Court has rejected the lawyers’ appeal against the arrest in absentia of former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov

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Grigory Rodchenkov

Grigory Rodchenkov

© Vitaliy Belousov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Moscow City Court has rejected the lawyers’ appeal against the arrest in absentia of former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov on Monday charged with illegal trafficking in dangerous substances, TASS reports from the courtroom.

"The court leaves the verdict by the Zyuzino District Court unchanged and will not satisfy the defense’s appeal," the judge announced the verdict.

According to the ruling by the Zyuzino District Court, the arrest term is two months from the moment of Rodchenkov’s extradition or detention on the territory of the Russian Federation. On September 1, 2017, Rodchenkov was put on an international wanted list and may face up to 10 years behind bars.

Defense vs. the prosecution

Rodchenkov’s defense attorneys asked the court to annul the arrest in absentia verdict because he had not been notified about the court hearing. "The prosecutor and the court withdrew from Rodchenkov’s notification, so he would be deprived of the possibility to be present at the session, which violated his right to defense," lawyer Alexey Sklyarenko said in the courtroom.

The prosecutor stated that the evidence that the Investigative Committee has at its disposal proves Rodchenkov’s involvement and therefore asked to leave the court’s ruling unchanged.

Rodchenkov is charged under two criminal counts: abuse of power (Article 201 of the Russian Criminal Code) and illegal trafficking in potent and toxic substances (Part 3 of Article 234 of the Russian Criminal Code). Rodchenkov’s arrest in absentia was declared for both cases.

The independent commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) headed by Richard McLaren earlier presented a report on the results of an investigation into accusations of doping schemes allegedly conducted at the Olympic Games in Sochi. This probe was carried out based on Rodchenkov’s testimony, who accused Russia of implementing a state doping support program. From 2006 to 2015, Rodchenkov headed Russia’s anti-doping center and since January 2016 he has been hiding in the US, where he serves as WADA’s informer.

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