Doping-Spanish doctor had clients in soccer and tennis

Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:54pm EST
 

By Iain Rogers

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, accused of masterminding a doping ring in cycling, told a court on Tuesday he also had clients in other sports including soccer, tennis, athletics and boxing after finally taking the stand in a high-profile and much-delayed trial.

Fuentes and four other defendants are appearing before a Madrid judge almost seven years after police seized anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment and blood bags as part of a investigation code-named "Operation Puerto".

The trial has attracted close international scrutiny because anti-doping authorities, who are represented in court, are hopeful it will finally lead to evidence of wrongdoing by athletes in sports other than cycling being made available.

Legal experts say it could also change the way doping issues are dealt with by criminal justice systems around the world.

Fuentes, who denies doping, was due to be cross-examined on Monday on the trial's opening day but his testimony was delayed as Judge Julia Santamaria dealt with procedural issues.

He was again mobbed by dozens of reporters, photographers and camera crews as he arrived with his lawyer on Tuesday and before he took the stand Santamaria agreed to a prosecution petition that disgraced American cyclist Tyler Hamilton be called as a witness later in the trial.

She also said she would consider a request from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for access to the blood bags giving them three days to provide a written justification.

BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS   Continued...

 
Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes (R) leaves a courthouse on the first day of the high-profile Operacion Puerto doping trial in Madrid, January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Perez