Armstrong said to be facing investigation from Spanish authorities
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Armstrong said to be facing investigation from Spanish authorities

by VeloNation Press at 8:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
“We are really interested that every person, Spanish or not, who has committed a crime in our country is going to be prosecuted”

Lance ArmstrongHe’s already facing a Qui Tam whistleblower lawsuit in the US, as well as separate claims from SCA Promotions and the Sunday Times. In addition to that, there were reports last month that Lance Armstrong could face federal investigation for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.

Now ABC News has reported that the Texan is also being investigated for possible criminal charges in Spain. Its reporter Neil Karlinsky has credited unnamed sources in the US and Spain as saying that Spanish authorities believe that crimes may have been committed in Spain.

While the law there doesn’t specifically make it an offence for an individual to use banned substances for personal use, it is a different matter entirely if ‘trafficking, distribution and commercialisation of doping drugs’ is carried out. In that case, Spanish law enables those deemed guilty of penalties of up to two years in prison plus fines of up to 400,000 euro.

ABC reports that the investigation is ongoing in Alicante, Valencia, Girona and Tenerife, and that those looking into the matter are deciding if Armstrong and Spanish associates should face charges.

Armstrong lived in Girona for several years. In addition to that, he used the services of the Spanish doctors Luis Garcia del Moral and Pedro Celaya, who were both implicated in the USADA report into the US Postal Service team as supplying drugs to riders. Also implicated was the Spanish trainer Pepe Marti, who worked with the US Postal Service/Discovery Channel teams plus the 2009 Astana squad.

According to German station ARD, both del Moral and Walter Viru – another doctor, who was implicated in the Operacion Grial case four years ago – are still working in Valencia. Del Moral was handed a lifetime ban last autumn but is apparently working with one of Valencia’s biggest sports medicine institutes.

ARD states that this is being investigated by both the Spanish Anti Doping Agency (AEA) and WADA.

It quotes AEA’s director Ana Munoz as saying that she is determined that both Operacion Puerto and the Armstrong situation are pursued.

“What I can tell you so far is that we are following up on the Armstrong case. Not only because we were involved in the investigation back then but also because we are really interested that every person, Spanish or not, who has committed a crime in our country is going to be prosecuted.”

She previously said in a television interview that she wanted evidence handed over which relates to the Puerto case. There have long been questions over some of the code names pertaining to cyclists, with several unknown individuals existing. In addition to that, no sportspeople from outside cycling have yet been pinpointed, despite suggestions that big footballers, athletes, tennis players and others were also Operacion Puerto clients.

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