German public broadcaster accesses ski doping messages involving Estonians ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Mark Schmidt (in dark glasses) being arrested.
Mark Schmidt (in dark glasses) being arrested. Source: Marcus Scheidel/Mas Bildagentur

Prosecutors in Munich, Germany, have formally charged Mark Schmidt, the doctor at the center of the ski doping scandal which engulfed the Estonian team at the world championships in February. According to German public broadcaster ARD, Schmidt and his associates are charged with organizing doping, with Schmidt himself charged with causing serious physical injury, and providing athletes with growth hormones in addition to blood doping, ERR's sports portal reports.

Cell phones using Slovenian SIM cards had been used in an effort to keep doping activities a secret; messaged obtained by ARD mention payment, locations, proposed dealers and doping checks, as well as inquiries from Schmidt to athletes on how they are feeling, as well as future rendezvous for further doping activies and growth hormone substances..

Cell phones using Slovenian SIM cards had been used in an effort to keep doping activities a secret; messaged obtained by ARD mention payment, locations, proposed dealers and doping checks, as well as inquiries from Schmidt to athletes on how they are feeling, along with future rendezvous for further doping activities and growth hormone substances.

Schmidt had been involved in the activities since 2011, and had 23 clients who were athletes from eight European countries, according to the report, although Schmidt's activities allegedly extended beyond Europe, including at the 2018 South Korea Winter Olympics.

Estonian skiers Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu were detained after a police raid during the World Championships in Seefeld, Austria, with compatriot Algo Kärp admitting to engaging in blood doping, Kazakh Aleksei Poltoranin, trained under Estonian coaches Mati Alaver and Andrus Veerpalu, was also fined.

Alaver was sentenced by Harju County Court to a one-year suspended prison sentence, with an eighteen-month probation period, in mid-November. Both he and Andrus Veerpalu, the former olympic gold medallist and father of Andreas, were banned for four years by the  International Ski Federation (FIS) in late November, as were Andreas Veerpalu, Algo Kärp and Karel Tammjärv.

A criminal investigation in Austria into Alaver was reportedly wound up earlier this month, based on the fact he had received judgment in his home country.

The ARD report can be viewed here (in German).

ERR's sports portal article (in Estonian) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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