The Wall Street Journal: Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov helped cover up Russian doping, whistleblower says

The whistleblower at the heart of the International Olympic Committee’s case against Russia alleged in sworn testimony that Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov paid a Russian biathlete millions of rubles not to disclose the elaborate doping scheme that has resulted in the country’s ban from the upcoming Pyeongchang Games.

The accusations suggesting the owner of an NBA team helped obscure the doping program in his role as the Russian Biathlon Union’s president are buried in a footnote deep in the affidavit of the saga’s central figure.

Grigory Rodchenkov, who oversaw the state-sponsored doping as the head of Moscow’s doping control laboratory, has explained the fraud in extensive detail since fleeing to the U.S., where he is now being held in protective custody. The IOC found him credible enough to levy the unprecedented punishment on Russia this week.

Unlike other claims in Rodchenkov’s testimony, many of which are supported by contemporaneous notes in his diary, the accusation that Prokhorov paid off a Russian athlete who tested positive for doping was repeated to Rodchenkov by an intermediary. There is no further evidence to support the accusation, and Prokhorov disputed Rodchenkov’s account on Thursday. “We categorically deny this story,” a representative for Prokhorov said. “It is based on totally irresponsible hearsay and is complete nonsense.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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