Austrian blood bank rejects doping accusations
The management of the Austrian blood bank Humanplasma strongly rejects all accusations of involvement in an international blood doping scandal.
16th January 2008
Vienna (dpa) -Lothar Baumgartner, laboratory head of the Vienna-based company, stressed that he had not been contacted by Austrian authorities regarding the accusations.
"Since the accusations became public, no investigator, neither from the police nor drugs force visited us," 65-year-old Baumgartner told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
German broadcaster ARD reported on Tuesday that up to 30 athletes, many of them from Germany, were involved in illicit blood-doping activities revolving around Humanplasma.
In November, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informed Austrian authorities in a letter of suspicions against the company, Austrian media reported last week.
Only once last summer, Humanplasma was contacted by the authorities in connection with the doping scandal involving Austrian athletes at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. Humanplasma was able to solve the whereabouts of the one blood bag in question, Baumgartner said.
He stressed that his company lacked the equipment necessary for blood doping, and also, contrary to earlier remarks, ruled out that the company's facilities were used behind his back.
Nonetheless, Humanplasma will refrain from legal action against ARD for the time being, Baumgartner said.
Investigations by Austrian authorities are continuing, but any results will be passed on to the Italian authorities, whose assistance request only triggered the inquiry in Austria, the Interior Ministry said.
According to current Austrian legislation, doping is not a criminal offence, and can only be prosecuted within the framework of drug-abuse legislation.