21 Feb 2018 18:09

Interpol denies Russia's request on declaring Rodchenkov wanted, sees politics behind his prosecution - source

MOSCOW. Feb 21 (Interfax) - Interpol has denied Russia's motion to have former Moscow Anti-Doping Lab and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) informer Grigory Rodchenkov declared wanted, as it considers his prosecution by Russia politically motivated, an informed source told Interfax on Wednesday.

"Having considered Russia's request, Interpol's General Secretariat decided not to put Rodchenkov's file in its database, assuming that his prosecution is politically motivated," the source said.

Russian law enforcement placed a request with Interpol for Rodchenkov's detention and extradition in October 2017, he said.

Lawyer Alexei Sklyarenko, who defends Rodchenkov's interests in Russia, told Interfax that he was unaware of Interpol's decision.

"I don't know anything about that. The investigation has avoided inviting me to any investigative procedures, and I am unaware what investigative procedures are currently under way. I might presume that Interpol refused to put Rodchenkov on the wanted list since it sees the case as politically motivated," he said.

The Investigative Committee is currently handling two criminal cases against Rodchenkov, one of them over abuse of office and the other over obstruction of justice. Sklyarenko told Interfax on February 19 that the Interior Ministry was also pursuing a criminal investigation against Rodchenkov on charges of illegally trafficking potent substances. He has been charged in absentia only with abuse of office and illegally trafficking of potent substances.

Russia put Rodchenkov on the international wanted list. Russian law enforcement agencies had earlier signaled their determination to seek his extradition from the United States, where he is believed to be now.

Rodchenkov was a key WADA informer in the investigation into doping among Russian athletes. In December 2017, the International Olympic Committee ruled to allow clean Russian athletes to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics with neutral status.