Austrian criminal investigation into ski coach Mati Alaver terminated

Mati Alaver at a domestic hearing at Harju County Court in  November 2019.
Mati Alaver at a domestic hearing at Harju County Court in November 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

A criminal investigation in Austria into former Estonian national ski coach Mati Alaver has been terminated, ERR's sports portal reports.

Hansjörg Mayr of the Insbruck prosecutor's office in Austria told ERR that the investigation had been wound up since a court judgement has entered into force in Estonia.

In a closed-door hearing on Nov. 15, Harju County Court handed Alaver a one-year suspended prison sentence, with an eighteen-month probation period, following an agreement entered into with the prosecutor's office, though Alaver neither pleaded guilty to nor appealed the court decision.

The Austrian development is also significant, ERR reports, since the continuing investigation in that country was the reason Harju County Court gave for declining to grant the media access to Alaver's criminal file.

Judgment in Estonia

According to the indictment, Alaver repeatedly informed 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.

Together with coach and former ski champion Andrus Veerpalu, as well as the three Estonian skiers accused of doping following a swoop by Austrian and German police on Feb. 27 at the world skiing championships in Seefeld, Austria, Alaver was also hit with a four-year coaching ban by the FIS, the international ski governing body.

Alaver was released some hours after being detained on Feb. 27, though criminal proceedings were commenced under section 195 of the Penal Code, which relates to pecuniary punishment or up to three years' imprisonment.

Alaver admitted in an interview with ERR in March that he had contacted German sports physician Mark Schmidt, who had allegedly supplied Estonian skier Karel Tammjärv with doping substances, but denied claims that he, Alaver, had tolerated the activities.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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