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Monday 13, Mar 2017

  Essendon Sought Help Of Underworld Figure In Doping Case

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Underworld enforcer Mick Gatto has claimed a senior official of the Essendon Football Club approached him at the height of the drugs saga to find out what was going on with it all.

The Bombers are locked in a bitter legal battle with Dean Wallis, dual premiership hero, and ex-team manager John Elliott — the latter alleging that bosses reached out to Gatto. The father of Elliott remarked he in late 2014 had a cafe meeting with a senior Bombers official (whom Bombers denied had dealings with Gatto) who had asked him to arrange a meeting with the Carlton identity.

Previously, it was reported by the Herald Sun that Elliott Jr. had alleged in a signed statement as part of a compensation action that he was asked to set up a meeting off-site with Mick Gatto, an external well-known dispute resolution specialist in November 2014. Elliott Jr. had also commented that the purpose of the meeting was in regard to obtaining information from Shane Charter, who was a supplier to Stephen Dank.

However, Bombers chairman Lindsay Tanner insisted it was Gatto who came to the club offering help, and he was knocked back. Tanner remarked allegations of an official having dealings with Mick Gatto are false. The claims of Tanner were rejected by Elliott Sr. who said he was asked to set up a meeting with Gatto in a meeting at The Delicious Afare cafe in Strathmore held with the official in late 2014. Elliott Sr. added a third party could verify that cafe rendezvous and also commented that he organized a meeting within three days but the Essendon official pulled out due to another commitment. Elliott Sr. also remarked he told Gatto that the meeting would not go ahead as planned and also remarked the official later said he did not wish to proceed with the meeting and that was the end of it.

Tanner dismissed the allegations of Elliott as the acts of disgruntled ex-employees who have made a number of false and unsubstantiated allegations against the club. Tanner added allegations of dealings with Mick Gatto are false and also remarked inappropriate demands and threats made upon Essendon Football Club have been reported to the AFL Integrity Department Victoria Police have been contacted on its advice. Tanner did not respond to the claims of Elliott Sr. regarding Gatto but remarked he is advised by his predecessor Paul Little that he was approached by Mick Gatto offering his assistance and this offer was declined.

Gatto said he did get embroiled in it and he was approached. The underworld enforcer in an interview by The Footy Show star Sam Newman at a Lygon St restaurant said it would not be very professional of him to divulge who he met and added they just wanted me to find out what was going on with it all and what he could find out and have a feel around.

Police is presently investigating a “report of a blackmail matter” after it was remarked by the Bombers that they had lodged a complaint regarding alleged threats.

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Tuesday 07, Jul 2015

  Suburban Footballers Face Scrutiny Like Elite AFL Counterparts From ASADA

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The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority tested players from the Essendon District Football League B-grade match on Saturday between Doutta Stars and Craigieburn. This is seen by many as a stern warning to suburban footballers that they could face as much scrutiny as their elite AFL counterparts.

ASADA officials randomly tested four players from the two teams in the Essendon District Football League. Stars team manager Robert Lamberti said he had never heard of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s officials testing district football players. The ASADA officials warned the clubs and players they could face a two-year ban if they did not comply.

The Doutta Stars are coached by Dean Wallis, former Essendon player and official who used to maintain the spreadsheets during the club’s controversial supplements program run by Stephen Dank. Dank, who was banned by the NRL and AFL, has been a sought-after figure by community football clubs and had been a guest speaker at a recent Doutta Stars club function.

In a statement, ASADA said we can confirm the Australian Football League (Victoria) Limited contracted ASADA to conduct tests at this level. The statement added the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority implements an intelligence-based testing program, working with sports to target athletes and competitions at highest risk in an effort to deter and detect doping.

The anti-doping agency’s statement further said we thought it was important in this instance to clarify reports in the media while it is not our normal practice to discuss specifics of our operations. It was further added it is important for athletes to understand that ASADA can conduct testing on any athlete who participates in a sport with an anti-doping policy and it was also commented that every athlete, regardless of the level of competition, has the right to compete in a sport free from doping.

It was reportedly said by Wallis that he had been told the need to test the players had come from Canberra. Meanwhile, AFL Victoria talent manager John Hook remarked he welcomes any drug testing done at suburban levels. Hook added he thinks the more we can afford with testing to try and combat that (PEDS and illicit drugs) and education, they both go hand in hand, and he thinks that is good for the sport.

AFL revealed the tests were conducted at the request of AFL Victoria. This is not the first time that drug testing has happened at VFL level but it is believed this is the first time such an investigation has taken place in the EDFL.

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Monday 20, Apr 2015

  ASADA Not To Appeal Against Verdicts On Essendon And Stephen Dank

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ASADA Not To Appeal Against Verdicts On Essendon And Stephen Dank

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has announced it will not appeal against the guilty findings against 34 past and present Essendon players and controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank, who was found guilty on 10 charges.

However, ASADA urged the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to take the matter direct to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority said any appeal against the AFL anti-doping tribunal verdicts on Essendon and Dank would remain within the AFL framework.

ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt gave a hint of a trust in the AFL system by remarking any appeal by ASADA would ultimately serve only to delay consideration of these matters and it may deny an immediate chance to WADA to take the case to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport. McDevitt said as with all other decisions he has made in these matters this decision has largely been informed by comprehensive legal advice.

The ASADA chief executive added he is conscious that ASADA does not have a direct right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the only appeal avenue open to ASADA at this time is to the AFL anti-doping appeals tribunal. McDevitt added he is also aware that appealing any of these decisions within the AFL framework would ultimately serve only to delay consideration of these matters by the World Anti-Doping Agency. He went on to remark therefore he has arranged to provide the entire case file encompassing all 35 matters to WADA for its independent review and this is in accordance with global anti-doping protocols.

The chief executive of ASADA added that WADA will then be able to make an independent decision as to whether to exercise its appeal options and ASADA will support any WADA initiated appeal in relation to these matters. McDevitt also remarked he wanted the findings of the tribunal to be made public.

The World Anti-Doping Agency now has 21 days to decide whether or not it wants to appeal the case. Its appeal is taken directly to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and not the AFL appeals board.

Meanwhile, Stephen Dank has confirmed he would appeal against the 10 charges laid by the tribunal and also said he is contemplating legal action against ASADA for their investigation. The sports scientist was found guilty of trafficking, attempting to traffic and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances. He was also accused of overseeing what substances the players took and being the architect of the supplements program.

Former ASADA chairman Richard Ings said the charges against Dank do not surprise him. Ings said it has been a long time coming but Stephen Dank has made certain admissions about the distributions about banned substances and that he has a business in peptides that distributes banned substances.

In another development, Essendon coach James Hird has remarked he is ready to testify at a Senate inquiry into ASADA as Dank signaled he would appeal his guilty verdict. Hird remarked he would be happy to tell all about an inquiry he went to Federal Court to derail, assuming Essendon has never told its side of the story.

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Saturday 18, Apr 2015

  Stephen Dank Found Guilty By AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal

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Stephen Dank Found Guilty By AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal

The AFL anti-doping tribunal has found Stephen Dank guilty of 10 breaches. The controversial sports scientist was facing 34 charges including trafficking, attempt to trafficking and complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances.

The breaches mostly related to time of Dank with Essendon, but also included his stint with the Gold Coast Suns and dealings with a former Carlton coach.

An AFL statement read the Tribunal has found that the former Essendon support person has been found guilty of 10 breaches of the AFL Anti-Doping Code. The statement also revealed that the prohibited substances in question include Thymosin beta-4 and CJC-1295 and added that former NRL player Sandor Earl admitted to trafficking.

The tribunal said it is comfortably satisfied that Dank violated clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by attempting to traffick in, by selling, giving, transporting, sending, delivering and/or distributing to a third party or parties, namely the Essendon Football Club and athletes of the club, prohibited substances in a product known as Humanofort, namely Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), Insulin Growth Factor 2 (IGF-2), Mechano Growth Factor (MGF), Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF), Follistatin and Thymosin Beta 4, between about January 2012 and September 2012. The tribunal also said it is comfortably satisfied that the former support person violated clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by attempting to traffick in, by selling, giving, transporting, sending, delivering and/or distributing to a third party or parties, namely the Gold Coast Suns Football Club and support persons of the club, a prohibited substance, namely CJC-1295, in December 2010.

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the circumstances surrounding the case have been extremely difficult, given the amount of information and the number of parties involved and added the professionalism and diligence of the Tribunal has been greatly appreciated by the AFL.

The AFL anti-doping tribunal said it is not comfortably satisfied that Dank violated clause 11.8 of the AFL Anti-Doping Code by attempting to administer a substance prohibited both in and out-of-competition, namely Hexarelin, to various Essendon Football Club Players between about January 2012 and September 2012. It added the tribunal is not comfortably satisfied that Stephen Dank violated clause 11.6 of the AFL Anti-Doping Code by actually possessing, at various times between about January 2012 and September 2012, one or more substances prohibited both in and out-of-competition, namely Thymosin Beta 4 and/or Hexarelin, in connection with athletes (players) competition and/or training at Essendon Football Club.

It also said the tribunal is not comfortably satisfied that Dank violated clause 11.7 of the AFL Code by trafficking in, by selling, giving, transporting, sending, delivering and/or distributing to a third party or parties, namely the Essendon Football Club and athletes, prohibited substances in a product known as Humanofort, namely Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), Insulin Growth Factor 2 (IGF-2), Mechano Growth Factor (MGF), Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF), Follistatin and Thymosin Beta 4, between about January 2012 and September 2012.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) is contemplating an appeal to that tribunal decision and said it is disappointed in the tribunal’s decision to clear Dank of a number of serious alleged violations.

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Saturday 04, Apr 2015

  Stephen Dank To Reportedly Sue ASADA

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Stephen Dank To Reportedly Sue ASADA

Controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank has reportedly remarked that he will sue the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and its chief executive Ben McDevitt for defamation in the wake of the Essendon doping scandal.

The sports scientist said his lawyers will take action against ASADA and McDevitt after the anti-doping agency said it was evaluating the option of appealing against decision of the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal to clear 34 former and current Essendon players of all charges. McDevitt accused Dank in a press conference of sending mixed messages about whether there were records of what injections Essendon players were administered. McDevitt remarked no party has disputed that Stephen Dank played a central and critical role, the lead role in administering the injections.

The ASADA Chief Executive also remarked Stephen Dank has publicly stated that extensive records of the injection regime were kept but, throughout this investigation, no such records have been found. McDevitt also said that Dank curiously in a statutory declaration provided to ASADA, in response to a disclosure notice, declared he had no documents to produce and added that all the evidence that he have seen probably would indicate if there were records, they would be shambolic and chaotic.

McDevitt also went on to remark that the case is not yet closed and Essendon players took banned drugs in a 2012 injection program.

Meanwhile, Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley said regardless of the tribunal’s verdict, the initial report found an experimental environment that was never adequately controlled. She said any injection of unknown substances into athletes in order to push the boundaries of sporting achievement is unacceptable and added it shows a complete disregard for player safety and welfare.

The ASADA head however admitted that the anti-doping agency had powers to force Dank to testify.

Recently, Dank said ASADA had been very, very poor in their conduct, execution and understanding of this whole investigation. The scientist said the players never took anything that was illegal or anything that was against the WADA-prohibited list and added the players were not guilty of anything and he is very happy for the players.

McDevitt said findings of the upcoming decision by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal on the role of Dank in the supplements program some time after Easter would not determine whether the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority lodges an appeal but they might have some influence. The chief executive said we eagerly await that component from the tribunal because Stephen Dank was the alleged architect here and so it will be very interesting to see what the findings are, and what the reasons behind those findings are from the tribunal and also commented that it will certainly enable us to make a more informed decision on our appeal.

Steven Amendola, the lawyer who represented James Hird throughout the scandal, said Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority chief executive Ben McDevitt, his AFL opposite number Gillon McLachlan, most of the AFL Commission, and AFL competition integrity manager Brett Clothier should all submit their resignations over the ordeal.

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Monday 20, Oct 2014

  Fresh Show-Cause Notices For Essendon Players

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The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has issued fresh show-cause notices against 34 former and current Essendon players. These amended notices include 350 pages of evidence tailored for each player surrounding the alleged use of the banned peptide Thymosin beta-4.

Thymosin Beta 4 is banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. It is a peptide hormone that increases laminin-5 expression in corneal epithelium and accelerates wound healing, hair growth, and angiogenesis.

A statement issued by ASADA read the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) has issued amended ‘show cause’ notices to 34 former and current Essendon football players for the use of a prohibited substance, Thymosin Beta 4, during the 2012 season. The ASADA statement reads the resumption of action against the players follows the Federal Court’s dismissal of the applications by the Essendon Football Club and James Hird on 19 September 2014 and added that ASADA has notwithstanding James Hird’s appeal of the Federal Court decision agreed to a formal request by the legal team for the bulk of the players to expedite the ‘show cause’ notice process.

The evidence covering text messages, emails, invoices, and testimony from a range of witnesses included that Thymosin beta-4 was sourced from a Shanghai factory and it was administered to Essendon players. ASADA has alleged that Thymosin beta-4 from Chinese chemical maker GL Biochem (Shanghai) Pty Ltd was administered to the current and former Essendon players during the 2012 season. However, Essendon vehemently denied use of Thymosin beta-4 and said a different and permitted type of Thymosin was used at the club.

ASADA has spoken with Shane Charter, an anti-ageing clinician and pharmacist, who was allegedly involved in the supply of the substance to Essendon. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority also has text messages from Stephen Dank, the Bombers’ former sports scientist, in which the effects of a “Thymosin” have been described, which the Australian Football League has argued could only be attained from the banned form. Charter has alleged that Stephen Dank asked him to source Thymosin beta-4 in quantities that would be sufficient to treat a football team. Charter, who has run anti-ageing clinics, said Thymosin beta-4 was delivered to pharmacist Nima Alavi, of Como Compounding to be collected by Dank. The claims of Charter have been checked with Customs by investigators.

Nima Alavi, who initially refused to help the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority citing legal advice, provided evidence to investigators and alleged that the substance sourced by Charter arrived at his pharmacy marked simply as “Thymosin” and Stephen Dank took it from him to be tested at a Melbourne lab. Alavi also revealed that Dank told him later that the chemicals were not up to the mark and had been destroyed by Mimotopes, the lab, which reportedly has no record of receiving or destroying peptides from Dank in early 2012.

Industry insiders believe that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority decided to pursue anti-doping charges against Essendon after the case’s independent reviews backed the move as the evidence was deemed to satisfy the standard of proof in anti-doping cases.

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Wednesday 27, Aug 2014

  Doping Offer Of Reduced Bans Rejected By Essendon

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Doping Offer Of Reduced Bans Rejected By Essendon

A proposal by Australian Football League (AFL) has been rejected by Essendon Bombers that would have allowed players accused of doping to stand down voluntarily from club duties. This proposal would also have reduced any future bans on the accused players. The definitive six-month suspension would have seen Essendon players facing anti-doping sanctions to miss the last four games of the home-and-away season and finals but return in time for round one of 2015.

Recently, it was rumored that Essendon players were thinking about taking about “insurance” against future penalties imposed by anti-doping authorities. Under the discussed terms, 34 current and former Essendon players who are accused of using a banned peptide (Thymosin Beta-4) would start a self-imposed suspension after final match of the club for the season and remain away from the club until mid-January. The time served, under a provision within the World Anti-Doping Code, may be used to offset any ban that gets imposed against players at a future date when found guilty of a doping offence.

Essendon players, while being stood down, may be prohibited from training at the Tullamarine facility of the club but were allowed to train as a group off-site. This proposal was presented to the board of Essendon Bombers as having the in-principle support of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) though it now becomes apparent that the anti-doping authority did not have idea of the discussion of AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan with club president Paul Little.

Last Thursday, the Essendon board met at Melbourne’s Hyatt Hotel and unanimously rejected the offer. In a carefully worded statement, club president Paul Little said he had met with McLachlan but denied that a deal like Cronulla-style was offered. Little remarked a number of things were discussed but no offer was put to the club concerning any arrangements about players making admissions in return for agreed sanctions. Little also said the Essendon Football Club board were fully briefed on these discussions and will continue to act and make decisions in the best interest of our players.

ASADA chief Ben McDevitt said it would be completely inappropriate and quite contemptuous to negotiate with Essendon before the legality of ASADA’s investigation is ruled by the Federal Court.

AFLPA’s acting chief executive Ian Prendergast reiterated that any decision over sanctions was up to the players. In a statement, Prendergast said the 34 players continue to be represented by the legal team consisting of David Grace QC, Ben Ihle, AFL Players Association lawyers Brett Murphy and Bernie Shinners, and Tony Hargreaves. He also remarked the players’ legal team is independent of the Essendon FC and is focused solely on protecting the best interests of the 34 players who have been issued show-cause Notices by ASADA and also said the 34 players are the ones who will ultimately decide how they wish to proceed in this matter.

In another development, Essendon coach James Hird returned to work after serving a 12-month ban imposed by AFL for failure on his part to prevent the ill-fated supplements regime of the club that was designed by sports scientist Stephen Dank.

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Friday 24, May 2013

  Dank Supplied Peptides To Bandido Toby Mitchell

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Dank Supplied Peptides To Bandido Toby Mitchell

Former Essendon sports scientist Stephen Dank, who is at the center of Australia’s drugs in sport controversy, has been known to facilitate the flow of peptides and growth hormones to Bandido bikie gang Toby Mitchell.

A report in the Herald Sun suggested that Dank has organized peptides for Mitchell, club enforcer to outlaw bikie gang the Bandidos, using contacts in the medical field, according to multiple sources in that field. In the past 18 months, Mitchell has survived two attempts on his life and he was hospitalized in March this year after he sustained a bullet injury during a shootout in an industrial estate on Melbourne’s outskirts. Mitchell was previously admitted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s intensive care unit after being shot five times outside the Doherty’s Gym in Brunswick in November 2011.

Dank, who has been employed at AFL and NRL clubs since 2006, is at the center of the investigations by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority into allegations that athletes may have taken banned substances. Among his business associates are people who reportedly have connections to the Comancheros bikie gang and it is believed that the sports scientists allegedly sourced some of his peptides and hormone supplies from a convicted drug dealer.

Hormones and peptides could be legally prescribed, and most often this occurred in cosmetic medicine, according to Sports physician Dr Peter Larkins who added that arguably you could do blood tests for people over 40 and show that their glandular function is dropping away and you could make a case for using it.

Dank is still maintaining that all the substances he supplied to football players complied with sports anti-doping rules.

Dank, the Australian biochemist who worked as a sports scientist with National Rugby League clubs such as the Manly Sea Eagles, was recently accused by the Melbourne biochemist Shane Charter of sourcing the peptide Thymosin beta 4 while working for Essendon. Thymosin beta 4, a peptide that assists muscle regeneration and is commonly used in racehorses, is prohibited for athletes under anti-doping rules and it has been listed as prohibited from “at least 2011″, an Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority spokesman said.

Charter is expected to tell the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority that Dank had ordered enough Thymosin beta 4 to treat a squad of 30 players with regular weekly injections and said it was enough for an entire squad. Charter has disclosed that he will provide ASADA with physical evidence and said ASADA faced a difficult task finding out exactly what took place with the AFL club last season and he wanted to help. He said there is a lot of public misinformation out there and they’re spending a lot of time putting out spot fires and dealing with things other than the actual investigation.

Meanwhile, Essendon stayed away from making any comments and said it could not comment until the ASADA and AFL investigations had finished. In another development, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has moved to shoot down claims by Dank that he had its permission to use a banned substance.

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