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Spanish prosecutors looking into USADA files

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Oct. 17, 2012

LEON, Spain (VN) — Shockwaves from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s dossier outlining the Lance Armstrong doping ring are reaching Europe.

The Spanish anti-doping agency on Wednesday passed the 1,000-page file to the federal attorney general’s office to investigate if crimes were committed on Spanish soil.

According to a report in the Spanish daily El País, prosecutors will study the evidence to see if any laws were broken during the scope of the Armstrong doping ring, which spanned from the mid-1990s through 2010.

Attorneys will have to split hairs because Spain did not enact an anti-doping law until 2006, meaning that any illicit activities before then would be subject lesser charges, such as the endangerment of public health.

After 2006, however, the activities within the doping ring detailed in the USADA dossier would be open to possible prosecution under the stricter language that could lead to jail time and hefty fines.

Several of the alleged ringleaders lived in Spain, including Johan Bruyneel, who was based in Denia, as well as doctors Luís García del Moral and Pedro Celaya, both from Valencia. Pepe Martí, who was called the “courier” by riders because he would often procure banned performance-enhancing products, is also Spanish.

Bruyneel and Celaya are both challenging the allegations to arbitration.

Don’t expect quick action, however. Spanish courts are finally set to hear evidence in the Operación Puerto case in February, nearly seven years after the initial raids in May 2006.

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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