Arrest warrant for Russian whistle-blower
Former anti-doping director on international wanted list
A Moscow court said Thursday it had issued an arrest warrant for Russian whistle-blower Grigory Rodchenkov, who helped orchestrate the country’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program and has since fled to the US.
“The investigators put Rodchenkov on an international wanted list. Our court on September 21 issued a ruling to arrest him in absentia since he is wanted internationally,” the court’s spokeswoman Yunona Tsareva told AFP.
The move means Russia will be able to request that the US extradite Rodchenkov, but the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.
The spokeswoman said that Rodchenkov’s defense team has appealed against his arrest.
Rodchenkov, 58, is the former director of Moscow’s anti-doping lab that oversaw drug testing at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia’s Black Sea city of Sochi.
He headed the lab from 2006 to 2015 before fleeing to the US.
In May 2016 he gave an interview to The New York Times describing an elaborate doping scheme that he said involved dozens of Russian athletes at the Sochi Games.
A bombshell report by a World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) independent commission published in 2016 said Rodchenkov had admitted to “intentionally destroying” 1,417 test samples ahead of an audit.
It said Russia’s coverup scheme affected 30 sports and was in operation from 2010 until 2015.
The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) was declared “noncompliant” with international sport’s antidoping code in November 2015 after revelations by Russian athletes in a documentary aired by Germany’s ARD television channel.
Russia’s track-and-field Olympic squad and entire Paralympic team were barred from Rio 2016 and the country remains banned from international athletics.
Russia has consistently denied running a state-run doping program, with deputy prime minister and former sports minister Vitaly Mutko pinning all the blame on Rodchenkov’s laboratory and RUSADA.
“We’ve acknowledged that this man himself violated all the WADA rules, regulations and standards,” Mutko told R-Sport news agency on Monday.
The investigative committee, which probes serious crimes, opened a criminal investigation into Rodchenkov in 2016, accusing him of abuse of office, for which he could serve up to 10 years in jail.
The Russian investigation alleges that Rodchenkov committed violations including destroying samples on his own initiative, in order to conceal errors and keep his job.
They also alleged the leadership of WADA could have ordered Rodchenkov to destroy samples.
The deputy head of the investigative committee Ilya Lazutov said in November that evidence suggested “Rodchenkov for a long time, including for material gain, used his official position to induce athletes to use doping.”