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‘Don’t give Russia free pass’: whistleblower lawyers

New York (AFP) – Lawyers for doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov on Tuesday called for the International Olympic Committee to take a hardline stance against Russiaafter a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) panel recommended a four-year ban.

In a statement, attorneys Jim Walden and Avni Patel said Russian efforts to falsify data handed over to WADA investigators were part of a “predictable and deplorable policy of deception.”

“The Kremlin must think the people of the world are idiots to believe this shameless and transparent stunt,” the lawyers said.

“WADA should be applauded for revealing Russia’s latest crime, but if the IOC and the international sports regulatory framework gives Russia yet another free pass, other countries will simply follow in their footsteps.”

Walden and Patel represent Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory who is living in hiding in the United States after lifting the lid on the drugs scandal in 2015.

The Rodchenkov attorneys also said individual governments should enact legislation to make doping a crime.

“Governments across the world need to enact powerful legislation that squarely criminalizes doping fraud in order to put a stop to this kind of dangerous criminal behavior,” the lawyers said.

The statement came a day after WADA revealed its Compliance Review Committee had recommended a four-year sanction against Russia after accusing Moscow authorities of doctoring data handed over to its investigators earlier this year.

Full disclosure of data from Moscow’s drug-tainted testing laboratory was a central condition of the suspension of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being lifted in 2018.

But WADA said in its statement on Monday that the data provided to it by Moscow was “neither complete nor fully authentic”.

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