Prosecutor's office discloses details of ski coach doping indictment

Mati Alaver at Harju County Court on Thursday. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

ERR has obtained details of the prosecution's case against Former ski coach Mati Alaver.

Alaver was at Harju County Court Thursday morning, where a plea agreement was entered into whereby he received a one-year suspended prison sentence, with a six-month probation period.

Alaver had stood accused of facilitating the use of performance-enhancing doping substances by skiers in his charge.

The prosecutor's office disclosed documentation which found Alaver had met with so-called doping doctor Mark Schmidt, a German national, and associates of his several times in Germany, and also in Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Norway and in Otepää, in Estonia.

It was a swoop organized by Austrian law enforcement authorities at the World Ski Championships in Seefeld on Feb. 27 which led to the exposure of an international criminal doping network and carried out searches of several national teams, including Estonia's.

A total of nine suspects were detained, including two Estonian skiers - Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu.

The prosecution in Estonia said in October that some of the evidence collected was in cooperation with the law enforcement agencies in Austria and Germany, and relate to the actions of the 65-year-old trainer from 2016 to 2019.

Today's published documentation reveals the prosecution found Alaver had also advised athletes on how to obtain doping substances and their use in training and competitions.

According to the indictment, Alaver repeatedly told athletes about doping at unidentified times and places, arguing that without using the substances, the skier would not be on an equal footing with others, since many of the top competitors also used prohibited, performance-enhancing substances.

Blood doping's main aim is to rapidly increase the level of hemoglobin in the blood, which improves the body's ability to absorb oxygen under competitive conditions, ERR reports.

Personal data in the document is blanked out since its disclosure may undermine concurrent criminal proceedings pending in Austria, related with the same case, the court said.

The original ERR report in Estonian, together with prosecutor's documentation, is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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