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WADA informant Rodchenkov failed to give clear answers when questioned in CAS — lawyer

CAS has ruled to uphold the appeals of 28 Russian athletes whom the International Olympic Committee earlier banned for life from participating in the Olympic Games

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Ex-Director of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory and WADA informant Grigory Rodchenkov failed to give clear answers during questioning in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over appeals filed by 39 Russian athletes, lawyer Anna Kozmenko representing the athletes told TASS on Thursday.

CAS has ruled to uphold the appeals of 28 Russian athletes whom the International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier banned for life from participating in the Olympic Games over accusations of breaching anti-doping rules at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, according to the court’s news release.

The court also partially upheld appeals of 11 Russian athletes, replacing a life ban from all Olympic Games with a ban on participating only in the PyeongChang Games, the press release said.

"The questioning of Rodchenkov lasted several hours and much was said over this time and the arbitrators undoubtedly made their conclusions on the basis of what he had said. Some of his comments raised doubts. So, by their decision the panel of judges gave an evaluation of his testimony," the lawyer said.

Rodchenkov gave testimony during hearings in Geneva via video link last week and his face was hidden from the participants in the hearings.

"He gave answers in English but a translator sat next to him," the lawyer said.

Kozmenko said earlier on Thursday that the counsel for the defense would seek exoneration for the remaining 11 Russian athletes.

Putin about Rodchenkov

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he considered it strange that the accusations against Russia and its athletes were based on statements by Grigory Rodchenkov, "an imbecile with obvious problems."

"They caught this imbecile [WADA informant Grigory] Rodchenkov, brought him there [for testimony to the World Anti-Doping Agency]," Putin said.

"It is clear that this person is in trouble with the law… Everything is based on the statements by this man who can hardly be trusted in any way," the Russian president said.

Speaking about the fact that Rodchenkov was in trouble with the law, Putin noted that the WADA informant "had been engaged in unlawful activity and he should have been jailed."

"Instead, he was appointed as the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory," Putin said.

Speaking about other problems suffered by the WADA informant, Putin recalled Rodchenkov’s suicide attempts. "Let God give him good health, of course," Putin added.

As the Russian leader said, Rodchenkov is working under the control of US special services and "it is remarkable that he is working under control but only this is remarkable not for us."

Putin has said one cannot turn global sports and the Olympic movement into a "backyard for the nitty-gritty of politics," but it is necessary to continue working with international sports organizations.

"One should by no means turn global sports and the Olympic movement into a backyard for some dirty nitty-gritty of politics," he said. "Do we need to work with international organizations? Of course, we do, and we will do so."

On June 8, 2016, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case against ex-Director of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov over abuse of authority. On September 21, Moscow’s Basmanny District Court arrested him in absentia.

In November 2017, the Russian Investigative Committee announced that it would seek the extradition of Rodchenkov who absconded to the US in 2015. In addition, an obstruction of justice charge was filed against him. According to Investigative Committee Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko, evidence has been collected to prove that Rodchenkov destroyed athletes’ samples in breach of international standards for WADA laboratories.

Rodchenkov headed Russia’s anti-doping center in 2006-2015. He has remained in the United States since late 2015 and is currently a WADA informer.