The deputy chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Ilya Lazutov, has remarked athletes were induced into taking unknown substances by the former director of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov.

Lazutov added Rodchenkov is known to have been persuading them to take substances possessing unknown properties. The deputy chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee further added that testimonies to that effect had been made by several athletes whose names he was unable to disclose. He further added that the Investigative Committee is of the view that some criminal schemes may have been involved and added Rodchenkov may well have created and led a criminal ring.

More than 50 Russian athletes, their managers, and coaches were questioned as part of the Russian investigation into criminal cases involving violations of anti-doping rules. The list included former Deputy Sports Minister Yury Nagornykh and Natalia Zhelanova, a former advisor to the Russian sports minister on anti-doping issues. The Russia’s Investigative Committee deputy chairman added we are questioning everyone involved in the investigation regarding Rodchenkov and added we are also studying all claims regarding alleged opening of containers and substitution of doping samples.

Lazutov also commented that requests for legal assistance have been sent to the US to receive testimony from Grigory Rodchenkov, to Canada, to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to obtain the copies of materials that have formed the basis for Richard McLaren’s report.

It was further commented by the IC deputy chairman that the Investigative Committee while investigating the criminal cases continues to be open to cooperation with the relevant agencies and non-governmental organizations abroad, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee.

The IC deputy chief said the committee is open to cooperation with foreign agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the International Olympic Committee. Lazutov remarked we do count on mutual assistance within the framework of cooperation for obtaining the necessary information.

McLaren called Rodchenkov a credible and truthful person and remarked his report is based on evidence from the person who is at the center of this criminal scheme. This is a blow not only to the careers and fates of a large number of clean sportsmen, but also to the integrity of the Olympic movement.

Rodchenkov, who is taking refuge in the United States, had already confessed of eliminating some doping samples. Rodchenkov claimed he switched samples of athletes as he dumped “tainted” urine into a nearby toilet, washed out the bottles, dried and filled them with “clean” samples. Rodchenkov had also claimed that Russian athletes largely made use of performance enhancing drugs at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with the approval from the national sports authorities.

Rodchenkov was blamed by investigators of using authority contrary to the legitimate interests of the anti-doping laboratory in order to extract personal benefits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced in July this year that his government has made a decision to support amendments to tighten legislation to enhance responsibility and to adopt legislation allowing the use of detective and policing methods to let our law enforcers use investigative methods to expose the use and proliferation of doping substances.

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