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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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Monday 06, Apr 2015

  Anti-Doping Agencies Around The World Support ASADA Chief

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Anti-Doping Agencies Around The World Support ASADA Chief

Messages of support have been pouring in for Ben McDevitt, chief of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), after the precedent set by the not-guilty verdict for the Essendon doping scandal where all 34 former and current players of the club were held not guilty.

The heads of anti-doping agencies in the UK, US, France, and Germany contacted McDevitt with messages of support, which may raise the possibility of appeal. McDevitt also received support from the current federal sports minister, Sussan Ley, and her predecessor, Peter Dutton.

McDevitt has just over two weeks to appeal the judgment. ASADA is expected to release its findings on Dank after the Easter break. The World Anti-Doping Agency has a further 21 days to appeal after the deadline of ASADA expires and is expected to take its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a body chaired by IOC vice-president and AOC president, John Coates.

The AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal found it was not comfortably satisfied that former and current Essendon players committed the anti-doping rule violation of use of the prohibited substance, Thymosin Beta 4, during the 2012 season. The Tribunal was however “comfortably satisfied” under rule 16.1 of the anti-doping code that Shane Charter,  a self-styled anti-ageing consultant who arranged for the importation of peptides supplied to Essendon in December 2011, sourced what he believed to be Thymosin beta 4 from China. The tribunal refused to be satisfied that that pharmacist Nima Alavi compounded what he believed to be the drug and gave 26 vials of what he believed to be the same drug to Stephen Dank.

Lawyer Natalie Hickey, who has followed the case closely, remarked it is impossible and unfair even to attempt answering this without access to the detailed reasons. Natalie added the better question is whether the AFL appeals board would bring fresh eyes, and different life experiences, to the evidence, with the prospect of a different point of view. Natalie also remarked that the Bombers were charged under clause 11.2 of the old code but this is now clause 10.2 under the revised code and added that the new code changes the approach the appeals board will take to an appeal, depending on the nature of the charges laid. Hickey also commented that the amendment of another clause may mean that “the task for ASADA on appeal would be easier.”

Hickey also said those new provisions enable the appeals board essentially to consider matters afresh, in what is called a ‘de novo’ hearing and said the appeals board need not defer to the discretion of the AFL tribunal. Natalie also said the prior proceedings also do not limit the evidence or carry weight in the hearing before the appeals board and added the standard of proof the appeals board must apply is also ‘comfortable satisfaction’.”

Meanwhile, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and Essendon chairman Paul Little have already expressed their hope that ASADA does not appeal so that the Australian Football League can be free of the controversy that has clouded it for more than two years.

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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.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Fresh Show-Cause Notices For Essendon Players

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.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Dank Supplied Peptides To Bandido Toby Mitchell