MOSCOW (Reuters) – The head of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA on Friday rejected allegations made on social media that he had misappropriated the agency’s funds, calling the claims an attempt at undermining the fight against doping in the country.
Yuri Ganus said that allegations made on Thursday on a Telegram channel that he could face prosecution for alleged corruption were a “pack of lies.”
“This is a complete lie that is not based on fact,” Ganus told a news conference. “The goal of those who ordered this article… was exclusively to discredit RUSADA. They do not like the independence of our agency, they do not like our active position.”
Ganus did not name who he thought might be behind the allegations, which Reuters could not independently verify.
RUSADA was suspended in 2015 after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.
Ganus was named director of RUSADA in August 2017, saying at the time that his goal was to restore trust in Russia’s anti-doping system. The selection of a new director had been one of the conditions for the agency’s reinstatement.
RUSADA was conditionally reinstated in September 2018, but was declared non-compliant late last year after WADA found Moscow had provided it with doctored laboratory data.
The agency has appealed against a four-year ban on Russian athletes competing at major international sporting events under their flag as punishment for that alteration of laboratory data.
The case will be heard by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in November.
Russia was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea as punishment for a state-sponsored doping scheme at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, although many Russians were cleared to compete as neutrals.
The IOC, however, chose not to ban all Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after another WADA-commissioned report revealed a state-backed doping programme across many sports.
Russian authorities have denied the existence of state-backed doping in the country.
(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Christian Radnedge)