Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee has suggested the World Anti-Doping Agency could have ordered the destruction of test samples at Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory as the country tries to deflect blame over a string of doping scandals.
A bombshell report by a Wada independent commission published in November said Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory, had admitted to “intentionally destroying” 1,417 test samples ahead of an audit.
Rodchenkov, who has fled to the United States, earlier this year revealed details of a complex system to evade anti-doping controls used at the 2014 Sochi Olympics with the close involvement of the Russian sports ministry and the FSB security service.
Russia’s investigative committee, who erroneously identified Rodchenkov as the former head of Russian anti-doping agency Rusada, said that it has “reason to believe that he could have been ordered to destroy the samples from someone in the leadership of the World Anti-Doping Agency.”
“This version will be considered along with the others,” the investigative committee said in a statement.
“By the way, this version is supported by the fact that we still have yet to be presented with concrete evidence of doping among Russian athletes.”
The statement added that it was “essential” for Russian investigators to interrogate Wada president Craig Reddie and Wada independent expert Richard McLaren, who penned a report last month that accused Russian authorities covering up doping violations.
Earlier on Tuesday Russian authorities slammed the rejection of Russia’s appeal against a ban on its Paralympians from Rio over state-sponsored doping.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called it a “cynical decision” while sports minister Vitaly Mutko said the ruling was political.
Russia narrowly escaped a blanket ban from the Rio Olympics last month when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) left it up to international sports federations to determine which Russians were eligible to compete while granting itself a final say.