GENEVA (Reuters) - A Swiss laboratory named in a World Anti-Doping Agency report that alleged a state-sponsored drugs culture in Russian athletics denied on Thursday it had acted wrongly in destroying 67 samples sent from Moscow for testing.
An independent commission set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Monday that Russia’s athletics federation should be suspended after uncovering widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs.
One section of the commission’s report said that Lausanne-based Swiss doping analysis laboratory, known by its French initials LAD, destroyed test samples after making “unwarranted assumptions” that they had been sufficiently tested.
The report said the samples were important evidence regarding allegations by former throwing disciplines coach Oleg Popov who had warned WADA of a scheme to swap positive samples for clean ones, involving 67 athletes.
The samples had been moved to Lausanne from Moscow following Popov’s warnings, the report said.
“The commission, although not satisfied that the destruction of the samples was a mere internal administrative or procedural oversight, has found no evidence of otherwise culpable conduct,” said the report.
“In relation to the allegations made by Popov......the commission cannot substantiate the claims due to the fact that the majority of the samples have been destroyed.”
LAD, however, said that it had analyzed the samples and then destroyed them “in accordance with the procedures in laboratories accredited by WADA”.
“It was only later, contrary to what is stated in the report of the independent commission, that the LAD was informed by WADA of the need to explain documented the destruction of the samples,” said the laboratory’s statement.
Reporting by Tom Miles; writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Ralph Boulton