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Investigators: Russia wants US to extradite doping whistle-blower

Russia said on Wednesday it planned to ask the United States to extradite Grigory Rodchenkov.

FILE: Two-time gold medal winner at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia's bobsledder Alexander Zubkov, Russia's Deputy Minister of Sport Yury Nagorny and gold and silver medalist at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia's cross country skier Alexander Legkov look on during a press conference on 13 May 2016 in Moscow. Picture: AFP.

MOSCOW - Russia said on Wednesday it planned to ask the United States to extradite Grigory Rodchenkov, the ex-head of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory who alleged a state-sponsored doping cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Rodchenkov last year alleged, after travelling to the United States, that Russia had orchestrated a sophisticated scheme to protect its doping cheats by substituting tainted urine samples with clean ones at the Sochi Games.

Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.

“The investigation plans to demand Rodchenkov’s extradition from the United States,” Russia’s investigative committee said in a statement.

It remains unclear how Rodchenkov could be extradited given that Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty.

The investigative committee could not immediately be reached for clarification.

The committee also denied that any sample tampering had taken place during the Sochi Games and said it had not found evidence of a state-sponsored doping programme in the country.

“The arguments of WADA independent expert McLaren on the substitution of positive doping tests with negative ones at the Sochi anti-doping laboratory during the Winter Olympics have been refuted, as well as the existence in Russia of a state doping programme for athletes to win a maximum number of medals,” the committee said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been retesting all Russian athletes’ samples from the 2014 Games following Rodchenkov’s allegations.

Last week cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov became the first Russians to be sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations as part of an IOC investigation into allegations of widespread doping among Russians and sample tampering by laboratory and security officials at the Sochi Games.

The IOC has said it would decide on the participation of Russian competitors at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February during its executive board meeting next month.

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