Ten weeks before his unexpected death, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA) approached a Sunday Times journalist. Nikita Kamaev offered to blow the whistle on the secret development of performance enhancing drugs by his country.

Sunday Times sportswriter David Walsh, who is well-known for his covering of doping by cycling champion Lance Armstrong, reported that Kamaev wrote to him in November and offered to reveal information on doping covering the last three decades.

Walsh revealed that Kamaev wanted him to be his co-author but the book plans did not proceed further. The Sunday Times journalist added he was not willing to work with Kamaev because of his poor English and former role overseeing the drug testing agency at a time when the government of Russia gained more influence over drug testing.

The 52-year-old Kamaev told the journalist he wanted to write a book to expose the full extent of doping in Russia. In early December, Kamaev sent an e-mail to the journalist that he wanted to write a book about the true story of sport pharmacology and doping in Russia since 1987 while being a young scientist working in secret lab in USSR Institute of Sports Medicine. In November, a report for WADA disclosed the existence of a second Moscow laboratory in addition to the laboratory accredited by the WADA. The WADA report concluded that role of the second laboratory was to cover up what would otherwise be positive drug tests.

In the wake of the report, the head of a Russian anti-doping laboratory, Grigoriy Rodchenkov, resigned a day after a report by WADA accused Russia of widespread cheating in athletics. Rodchenkov had earlier said allegations against Russia had been compiled by idiots while Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko termed conclusions of the report “baseless” and “really fictional”.

Kamaev also wrote in the email that he had the information and facts that have never been published. Kamaev wrote in another e-mail sent on December 4 that his personal archive contains actual documents, including confidential sources, regarding the development of performance-enhancing drugs and medicine in sport, correspondence with the anti-doping community, ministry of sports, IOC (International Olympic Committee), NOC (National Olympic Committee), WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), personally and more.

The former RUSADA chief made his first approach to the journalist on Nov 21. Kamaev died from a heart attack on February 14 after he had just returned from cross-country skiing close to Moscow.

Ramil Khabriyev, former general director of RUSADA and a former friend of Kamaev said Kamaev’s widow did not suspect foul play. Khabriyev added he does not have any suspicions. Khabriev told Tass Agency of Russia that Nikita Kamaev planned a book but later decided to abandon the idea as too much influence over its contents was demanded by an “American publisher”.

Kamaev was the second former head of RUSADA to die this February after Vyacheslav Sinev, whom he replaced in 2011 as executive director and who had a history of heart problems, died on February 3.

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