Nets owner’s ‘bribe’
The man who blew the lid off Russia’s doping scandal claims Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov dished out hush money to an Olympic athlete after she stumbled upon the scheme and threatened to go public.
Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov alleged in sworn testimony that the Russian billionaire shelled out millions of rubles to keep biathlete Irina Starykh quiet after she tested positive for steroids, according to The Wall Street Journal.
He testified that one of Russia’s doping doctors, Irina Rodionova, told him about the exchange after being informed by Starykh.
The Olympic hopeful had been caught using steroids in Austria ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games and asked Rodchenkov for help discrediting the analysis, but he was unable to do so, Rodchenkov said.
Upset over not competing, Starykh was planning on revealing her doping regimen to Olympic officials when Prokhorov stepped in and paid her “millions of [rubles] to stay silent,” according to Rodchenkov. One ruble is currently worth about 2 cents, so today a million rubles would be about $20,000.
Starykh and Prokhorov both denied the accusation on Thursday, saying no cash was every exchanged between the two.