Veerpalu and Kazakh skier did not show for court in Austria

At 10 a.m. Estonian time, a hearing for the doping involvement case of former Olympic champion skier Andrus Veerpalu began in Innsbruck, Austria. The hearing only lasted for 15 minutes as Veerpalu and Kazakh skier Aleksei Poloranin did not show up.

Those present for the hearing were the prosecutor and Veerpalu's and Poloranin's counsel. Monday's hearing lasted for 15 minutes as the defendants did not arrived and their representatives were also confused as to where the two men are, portal Delfi Sport reported (link in Estonian).

No new hearing was determined, the hearing for Andrus Veerpalu's son Andreas is set to take place on October 15.

Veerpalu's involvement in "Operation Bloodletting"

According to the International Ski Federation (FIS), Veerpalu violated their anti-doping rules, helping mediate and conceal the use of prohibited substances. Veerpalu cannot act as participant or trainer in any FIS events until March 17 2023. The skier did not appeal the court's decision.

At the end of February in 2019, a scandal broke out at the Seefeld Ski Championships in Austria, after police detained five athletes on suspicion of receiving illegal blood transfusion for the purpose of enhancing performances, during the sting operation termed "Operation Bloodletting".

Notorious German doping doctor Mark Schmidt mediated illegal blood transfusions through long-time Estonian national team coach Mati Alaver with Andrus Veerpalu also playing a key role in the doping ring, which also involved a Kazakh skier.

An Innsbruck-based prosecutor's office accused Andrus Veerpalu of aiding and abetting in sports fraud as the Estonian stood by as an athlete and Schmidt engaged in blood doping in Veerpalu's hotel room. Veerpalu's court case has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For more info, read ERR News' coverage here.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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