ROME, February 22. /TASS/. Italian police have found no evidence to the use of doping by Russian biathletes, the Russian embassy in Italy said on Saturday citing preliminary results of the search of their hotel rooms.
"Preliminary results indicate that the search has yielded no evidence. However, police have seized biathlete [Alexander] Loginov’s telephone and notebook, and a telephone of his personal coach [Alexander] Kasperovich for further check as part of preliminary probe," the embassy said.
The embassy reassured that Italian police planned no freedom restriction measures against the Russian athletes. "Our team continues to take part in the competition and plans to leave Italy as originally planned. A diplomat from the Russian consulate general in Milan will stay by the team until the very departure to ensure protection of the legal rights and interests of the Russian nationals," the embassy said, adding that search protocol will soon be translated into Russia to be signed by the Russian athletes.
According to the embassy, Bolzano’s prosecution authority received a signal from a representative of the International Biathlon Union that evidence to the use of doping by Russian biathletes could be found at their hotel rooms.
Earlier on Saturday, Italian police conducted searches at the hotel the Russian team was accommodated at upon a warrant from the International Biathlon Union. The hotel room accommodating Loginov and his fellow team member Yevgeny Garanichev was searched for doping evidence at the order from Bolzano’s prosecution authority as doping use constitutes a criminal offense in Italy.
Later in the day, Loginov and Garanichev, along with two other members of the Russian team - Matvei Yeliseyev and Nikita Porshnev - took part in a relay race at the 2020 IBU World Championships in Italy’s Antholz. They finished fourth.
Loginov was suspended from competitions by the Russian Biathlon Union in 2013 because of a suspicion doping test. The International Biathlon Union rechecked his doping test in 2014 to find erythroietin, a prohibited substance. In July 2015, it was decided to ban him from competitions for a term of two years since the recheck date. The ban expired on November 2016. After he came back in sports, he has been subject of bashing from many leading biathletes.