January 3, 2019 / 6:58 PM / 17 days ago

Doping: WADA hires law firm to investigate bullying accusations

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks into the head office of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

(Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Thursday it had hired a law firm to investigate accusations of bullying and harassment within the organization after an initial probe was unable to prove any improper behavior.

Beckie Scott, a Canadian Olympic gold medal cross country skier and WADA’s athletes committee chair, accused members of the executive committee of making inappropriate comments and gestures during a September meeting in the Seychelles when she opposed the reinstatement of Russia’s anti-doping agency.

WADA conducted an external independent review and discussed the report at meetings in Baku, Azerbaijan in November but determined the findings did not conclude the alleged bullying had taken place.

However, given the seriousness of the allegations, WADA decided a second investigation should be carried out and that the agency should seek legal advice.

In a statement WADA said the law firm Covington & Burling had “been given the mandate to conduct a full and thorough investigation of allegations of bullying and harassment, including interviews of the relevant parties”.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Martyn Herman

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