Andrei Baranov, the agent for three-time Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner Liliya Shobukhova, has revealed that Liliya paid more than $600,000 to the Russian track federation for avoiding a doping suspension.
This stunning revelation was reported by the French sports newspaper L’Equipe. The newspaper story was based on the knowledge of a deposition that Andrei gave to the Ethics commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) after the agent filed a complaint about the Russian federation’s handling of the situation. The newspaper disclosed that Liliya Shobukhova had violated doping rules in 2011 but was allowed to compete in the 2012 Olympics after she paid the money in three installments in January, June, and July 2012.
Eventually, the Russian federation banned Shobukhova for two years in April 2014 for irregularities in her biological passport that indicated blood doping. All her results after October 9, 2009 that included all three Chicago wins and her 2010 London Marathon victory were annulled. Shobukhova still is listed as Chicago champion in 2009-10-11 while the case is in the appeals process. The athlete will be asked to repay millions of dollars in prize and bonus money and appearance fees earned during the period if she loses all appeals.
L’Equipe reported that Shobukhova refused to accept the suspension that was offered by the Russian federation when the athlete wanted to make a return to competition in 2014. Shobukhova asked for reimbursement of the apparent bribes and has received only two-thirds of what she had paid, according to the French newspaper. The story appearing in the newspaper said the money may have been used to pay off an official of the International Association of Athletics Federations or officials to suppress doping positives by Russian athletes.
The International Association of Athletics Federations has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a four-year suspension on Shobukhova. The federation said the IAAF has noted a number of serious allegations regarding matters related to anti-doping in athletics, which were published in L’Equipe newspaper. It added the IAAF understands that there is already an on-going investigation by the IAAF Ethics Commission into these allegations but is not informed as to the status of this investigation or any other details related to the investigation.
In another twist, German TV network ARD made the same allegations about the Russian federation and Liliya Shobukhova in a 60-minute documentary on doping in Russian sport. The German television said Russia has been funding a comprehensive “East German-style” doping program for its athletes. The investigative journalist Hajo Seppelt’s documentary appearing on the television disclosed that up to “99%” of the Russian Olympic team use doping and a wide network of corruption exists to cover up doping positives.
Russian anti-doping agency’s director Nikita Kamaev has denied the allegations, and remarked his agency has always worked within the rules. Kamaev remarked allegations that RUSADA swapped samples or accepted bribes do not correspond to reality at all and added all athletes who make such claims have infringed with doping regulations in the past and such people then contact journalists and tell stories that are only laughable.