Russia opens criminal case against former anti-doping chief

Sat Jun 18, 2016 5:28am EDT
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian federal investigators said on Saturday they had opened a criminal case against the country's former anti-doping chief on charges of abuse of office, a day after world athletics' governing body upheld a ban on Russia for systematic doping.

Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow anti-doping laboratory chief who later fled to the United States, has spoken widely about how Russia ran a cover-up of doping by dozens of its athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

The country's investigative committee, which is responsible for conducting investigations into local authorities and federal governmental bodies, said Rodchenkov ordered his subordinates in 2014 to recycle samples despite pledging to store them until further notice by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which resulted in damaging state interests.

Investigators said they believed Rodchenkov used his authority contrary to the legitimate interests of the anti-doping laboratory in order to extract personal benefits.

Rodchenkov, who is in hiding in the United States, could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, the investigative committee launched criminal proceedings against officials from the All-Russia Athletic Federation on similar charges relating to 2009-2013.

The International Association of Athletics Federations on Friday unanimously upheld its ban on Russian track and field athletes competing at international competitions, saying not enough progress had been made with reforms and dashing the team's hopes of going to the Rio Olympics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he would seek the intervention of WADA and the International Olympic Committee over the decision.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Mark Potter)