Raids as Spanish doping probe reaches Germany

17th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

17 August 2006, WIESBADEN, GERMANY - A Spanish doping probe embraced Germany Thursday when criminal investigations were launched against a local doctor and cycling star Jan Ullrich is reportedly named directly for the first time in the affair. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) announced that "comprehensive evidence" was gathered during morning raids in the states of Lower Saxony and Thuringia on the doctor's house and office in a hospital. The BKA did not identify the man and the hospital

17 August 2006

WIESBADEN, GERMANY - A Spanish doping probe embraced Germany Thursday when criminal investigations were launched against a local doctor and cycling star Jan Ullrich is reportedly named directly for the first time in the affair.

The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) announced that "comprehensive evidence" was gathered during morning raids in the states of Lower Saxony and Thuringia on the doctor's house and office in a hospital.

The BKA did not identify the man and the hospital owing to ongoing investigations, but said he may have supplied Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes with forbidden substances, which violates German medications law.

The doctor in question refused to make a statement.

Later Thursday, the Helios clinic in Bleicherode, Thuringia, said that police had searched the office of one of its doctors and said it was fully cooperating with the authorities.

The BKA said in a statement that prosecutors in Goettingen, Lower Saxony, were leading the investigation into whether the doctor violated German medication law.

"The accused is suspected of having supplied medications, which fall under the (German) medication law, to sport for doping purposes," said BKA said in a statement.

"The investigation was launched based on evidence gathered by the BKA and Spanish authorities in connection with a probe into Spanish doctor and alleged supplier of doping substances Eufemiano Fuentes. The investigation led the suspicion that the accused (German doctor) could be a supplier of doping substances to Fuentes," the BKA said.

Fuentes is allegedly at the centre of a Spanish scheme in which 58 cyclists have been implicated following a lengthy investigation and police raids in late May. He is suspected to have carried out illegal blood transfusions and supplied riders with doping substances.

German ARD television identified the man and said that he supplied doping substances to Spain, allegedly via Fuentes' wife.

They reportedly included the substance synacthen which reduces fatigue and was found during May raids in the car of another Spanish suspect, former Liberty team boss Manolo Saiz.

Ullrich and the 2006 Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso are the most prominent riders mentioned in connection with the probe.

Ullrich has protested his innocence but was kicked out of his T- Mobile team over the affair. The Swiss cycling federation has opened proceedings against him, as Ullrich has a Swiss licence as resident in that country.

On Thursday, The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Ullrich has been named directly in connection with the probe in a fax allegedly sent by Fuentes. It printed a fax with the name "Jan Ulrich" (inaccurately written with one "l") on it and signed by "Eufuentes."

The report said that in the fax Fuentes asks Colombian Nelson Giraldo Flores, allegedly a courier, for help during the "Festival in May," which according to the SZ was a reference to the Giro d'Italia which took place May 6-28, 2006.

The fax lists among others several riders, including Ullrich and Basso.

Ullrich's manager Wolfgang Strohband said Thursday he was in possession of the fax. He named the SZ article "outrageous" and said he was considering legal action.

A possible German doctor link in the affair was first reported by Spain's leading newspaper El Pais daily on July 31.

According to El Pais, investigators believe that Fuentes formed a network with others and allegedly received an undetectable form of the EPO blood-doping substance from a German doctor.

Tapped phone conversations allegedly made investigators believe that Fuentes told athletes that after being found out in Spain they could continue getting forbidden substances in Germany.

Investigators are reportedly also looking into whether American Floyd Landis, who could be stripped of his 2006 Tour title owing to a positive doping test for the steroid testosterone during the race, had contact with this network.

They were reportedly looking into whether Landis went to see the doctor in Germany, with team-mates reportedly saying he went to Germany just before he was revealed to have tested positive.

DPA

Subject: German news

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