Liliya Shobukhova Paid Bribe To Avoid Doping Ban, Says Agent

Three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova paid more than $600,000 to the Russian track federation for avoiding a doping suspension, according to his agent Andrei Baranov.

The French sports newspaper L’Equipe made this stunning revelation and cited a deposition that the agent provided to the Ethics commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). L’Equipe also reported that Liliya was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she paid the money in three installments in January, June, and July 2012 despite she violating doping rules in 2011.

Liliya was eventually banned in April 2014 by the Russian Federation for two years after blood doping was indicated by irregularities in her biological passport. Her suspension annulled all her results after October 9, 2009 that included all three Chicago wins and her 2010 London Marathon victory. However, the Russian athlete is still listed as Chicago champion in 2009-10-11 pending the outcome of her appeal. After her suspension was announced, Liliya asked for reimbursement of the apparent bribes and received only two-thirds of what she had paid. L’Equipe reported the bribe money could have been used for paying off an official of the International Association of Athletics Federations or officials for suppressing positive tests.

The IAAF has now appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for imposing a ban of four years on Shobukhova. In a statement, the IAAF said there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.

In another development, German TV network ARD disclosed Russia has been funding a widespread “East German-style” doping program for its athletes participating in national and international events. The investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt’s documentary revealed that a wide network of corruption exists to cover up doping positives and doping products are used by up to “99%” of the Russian Olympic team. ARD also disclosed that Mariya Savinova, the reigning Olympic 800-meter champion, was captured admitting to making the use of Oxandrolone (Anavar). The German broadcaster also revealed that Yulia Rusanova, who previously competed as an 800-meter runner, said banned substances were provided to her by her coach. Valentin Balakhnichev, who serves as the treasurer for the IAAF and is the President of the Russian Association of Athletics Federations, was also accused by ARD in the Shobukhova case. ARD also implicated Russian Athletics Federation coach Alexey Melnikov and leading sports physician Sergey Portugalov in the cover-up of drug positives and the drug procurement system.

Yulia Stepanova accused Sergei Portugalov, the head of the Russian federation’s medical department, of supplying doping products in return for 5 percent of the earnings of an athlete plus bonuses for competition wins. The former 800m runner who is now banned for abnormalities in her biological passport also remarked Russian athletes had avoided out-of-competition testing by using false names during foreign training camps.

David Howman, the general director of the World Anti-Doping Association, described Hajo Seppelt’s documentary allegations as “shocking”.

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