Mati Alaver legal fate in Germany still not known

Mati Alaver (right) at Harju County Court in November.
Mati Alaver (right) at Harju County Court in November. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The fate of former national ski coach Mati Alaver, so far as German authorities go, is still unknown. Alaver was convicted by Harju County Court to a one-year suspended prison sentence, with an eighteen-month probation period, in mid-November, for his involvement in blood doping activities with the Estonian national ski team.

Since the activities first came to light during the world skiing championships in Seefeld, Austria, in late February, after a police swoop, both the Austrian authorities and those of its neighbor, Germany – one of the key figures in the scandal was a German "Doctor" called Mark Schmidt, who arranged and facilitated most of the doping supplies – were involved from the outset, as well as that of Alaver's home country.

The Austrian regional prosecutor's office in Innsbruck confirmed to ERR in early December that its investigation into Alaver had been wound up.

However, the situation in connection with German authorities is not so cut and dried.

"We are still investigating whether [Alaver] can be prosecuted at all," Anne Leiding, a spokesman for the Munich prosecutor's office told daily Postimees, ERR's sports portal reports.

Additionally, the office has not formulated an opinion on whether or how the case being concluded in Estonia affects the ongoing proceedings in Bavaria against Schmidt and his cohorts, though Postimees adds that most of these developments have reached it and its sources via the German-language media.

Estonian skiers Karel Tammjärv and Andreas Veerpalu were detained after a police raid during the world championships at Seefeld, Austria, with compatriot Algo Kärp admitting to engaging in blood doping, Kazakh Aleksei Poltoranin, trained under Alaver and former olympic and world gold medalist - and father of Andreas - Andrus Veerpalu, was also fined.

Both trainers were banned for four years by the  International Ski Federation (FIS) in late November, as were Veerpalu junior, Kärp and Tammjärv.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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