MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS/. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) claims that the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory was tampered with in January 2019 several days prior to granting access to the Lab to WADA’s experts, according to a WADA report obtained by TASS on Tuesday.
"Some of the presumptive positive findings and related evidence were removed in 2016 or 2017, after the general scheme to cover up the doping of Russian athletes was first revealed by Dr. Rodchenkov and then quickly confirmed by Professor Richard McLaren's investigation," said a report from the WADA Compliance Review Committee (CRC) based on the findings of the WADA Intelligence & Investigations Department.
"However, further significant deletions and/or alterations were made in December 2018 and January 2019 [i.e., after ExCo imposed the Data Requirement] before the Moscow Data were made available to a WADA team for copying," the document reads.
The Russian side failed to meet the deadline, which was December 31, 2018, to provide access for WADA experts to the Moscow Lab’s data.
"These activities were concealed by back-dating of computer systems and data files in an attempt to make it appear that the Moscow Data have been in their current state since 2015."
"Furthermore, the commands issued to execute the manipulations, deletions and back-dating were also deleted, in an attempt to avoid detection of what had been done," according to the document from WADA.
At the September meeting in Lausanne in September, according to the report, the Russian delegation acknowledged the fact that some of the information disappeared as a result of the infiltration into the Lab’s system on December 17, 2018 and on January 8, 2019, however it argued against the interpretation of the events on behalf of WADA’s experts.
"During the expert meeting, Russian Experts did not provide evidence or further technical material which required the Independent Experts to revisit their reported findings," the report stated.
The world’s governing anti-doping body announced on September 23 that it had initiated a probe into the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) with the Code of the organization based on the inconsistencies discovered in the data from the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory.
On November 25, WADA CRC reiterated its previous recommendation for the world anti-doping body’s Executive Committee (ExCo) to strip RUSADA of its compliance status and came up with a recommendation of additional sanctions against Russian sports.
Among the recommended sanctions, the CRC suggested barring Russia from all international sports competitions, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, for a four-year period. The Committee also issued a recommendation to deprive Russia of the right to host international sports events during this period. The WADA Executive Committee will pass a final decision on Russia at its meeting on December 9 in Paris.
The WADA Executive Committee reinstated the compliance status of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency on September 20, 2018 on condition that before December 31, 2018 WADA experts would be granted access to doping samples at the Moscow Anti-Doping Lab, which was sealed off in connection with a federal investigation.
Specialists from WADA were granted access to the database of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory in January this year and copied 24 terabytes of information on Russian athletes’ doping samples collected between 2012 and 2015. WADA experts finished their work to retrieve doping samples from the Moscow Lab on April 30 having collected 2,262 doping samples in 4,524 containers (Samples A and B).