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Interpol to investigate doping in athletics

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 World athletics' governing body the IAAF said it "strongly rejected" allegations of thousands of suspicious blood tests from athletes, and insisted it was taking every possible measure to combat doping. PHOTO/AFP

World athletics’ governing body the IAAF said it “strongly rejected” allegations of thousands of suspicious blood tests from athletes, and insisted it was taking every possible measure to combat doping. PHOTO FILE/AFP

LYON, November 9 – Interpol said Monday it will coordinate a worldwide investigation led by France into alleged doping and corruption in athletics.

The announcement by the international police body follows the publication of a damning report by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) independent commission investigating a number of individuals, including former officials of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

During its investigation the commission had requested assistance from Interpol’s anti-doping unit to contact national law enforcement agencies in countries where possible infractions had occurred, Interpol said.

As part of the operation Interpol is now working with member countries potentially linked to the inquiry, including Singapore.

“Interpol is to coordinate a global investigation led by France into an alleged international corruption scam involving sports officials as well as athletes suspected of a doping cover-up,” it said in a statement.

“Interpol facilitated the Independent Commission’s contact with French authorities who agreed to undertake an international inquiry into allegations including active and passive corruption, money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

“As part of the inquiry, French police last week raided premises belonging to individuals and companies.”

The WADA report focused on Russia, where it outlined evidence of systematic cheating, with the awareness and consent of the authorities in Moscow.

It called on the IAAF to suspend the Russian athletics federation from all competition, including the 2016 Olympics Games.

It also charged the “systematic doping” extended beyond Russia and athletics.

The crisis in athletics first erupted with allegations of doping aired in a German TV documentary in December 2014.

The affair took a dramatic twist last week when former IAAF chief Lamine Diack was charged with corruption on suspicion of taking bribes to cover up doping cases.

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