Five new arrests in Austrian anti-doping case
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Friday, April 3, 2009

Five new arrests in Austrian anti-doping case

by Agence France-Presse at 3:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
The public prosecutor's office here on Friday announced five new arrests in the anti-doping case that has rocked Austrian sport over the last few weeks.

Five unnamed people were arrrested in the provinces of Vienna, Lower and Upper Austria and Carinthia between February and the beginning of April, said prosecutor spokesman Gerhard Jarosch.

Some of them were active in the "fitness and weight training" sectors and are suspected of dealing in doping agents on a commercial scale, thereby contravening anti-doping and pharmaceutical laws, Jarosch said.

Substances worth an estimated 200,000 euros (270,000 dollars) were seized during searches.

Three arrests had already been annnounced on Thursday and former Austrian nordic skiing coach Walter Mayer and cycling manager Stefan Matschiner are also behind bars.

Mayer, 52, was implicated in doping scandals at the Winter Olympics of Salt Lake City in 2002 and Turin in 2006, while Matschiner saw his charge Bernhard Kohl stripped of his third-place finish in the 2008 Tour de France after testing positive for the blood boosted EPO Cera.

Mayer and Matschiner were placed in custody after being accused of supplying doping products to other athletes.

By contrast, a Viennese pharmacist suspected of having supplied Mayer with the products was freed from custody on Thursday after spending a week in detention, his lawyer Richard Soyer announced.

Another presumed client of the pharmacist, cyclist Christof Kerschbaum, on Thursday denied having made money through the distribution of banned substances.

Kerschbaum's arrest was the first ever of an athlete in Austria on doping allegations.This was made possible by a legal amendment on August 8, under which the possession and trafficking of doping substances now carries a five-year jail sentence. It was previously only deemed a minor offence.

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