tisdag 16 december 2008

Also unclear is just how far back the investigation should reach!

Police scrutiny over old doping-in-cross-country-skiing allegations to continue once again. Detectives want to know who lied - if anyone did - at STT libel trials in 1999and 2000. The National Bureau of Investigation (Finland’s central criminal police) intends to commence a new preliminary investigation into the so-called STT case of nearly a decade ago, which dealt with doping abuse by Finnish skiers.The idea of the investigation is to find out if the coaching and other directors at the Finnish Ski Association (FSA) lied in the related libel court case.In the preliminary investigation crime titles such as “aggravated fraud” and “false disclosure” will be used.In the supplementary examination requested by the State Prosecutor’s Office (VKSV) and carried out earlier this year by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) the former head coach of Finland’s cross-country skiing team Kari-Pekka Kyrö was heard. Based on what Kyrö told the authorities both the VKSV and the National Bureau of Investigation decided that there were grounds to launch a new preliminary investigation.The extent of the investigation as well as the number of individuals to be heard is at this stage anybody’s guess. Also unclear is just how far back the investigation should reach. If it turns out to be necessary to extend the investigation even further back than in the initial preliminary enquiries, the matters looked into have to do with the claims presented in connection with the STT case. The preliminary investigation hearings will commence after the turn of the year. The NBI launched the further investigations on account of a request from the VKSV after the former head coach Kyrö had declared publicly during the spring and the summer that the Finnish Ski Association directors were connected to the use of doping in Finnish cross-country skiing in the 1990s. In the so-called STT court case the coaching leadership insisted that as far as they knew no doping was used in Finnish skiing.Both Pekka Vähäsöyrinki, a long-time leader of coaching within the FSA, and the then cross-country skiing boss Antti Leppävuori escaped without charges, when the sayings of the FSA officials were looked into in the STT case. Kari-Pekka Kyrö, on the other hand, was handed fines the following year by the Vantaa District Court for an attempted deceit.In 1998, the Finnish News Agency STT published news features, in which it claimed that a named Finnish male skier had used growth hormone and that the leading figures at the FSA had been involved in it.
STT’s then editor-in-chief and one journalist were sentenced by a district court to a suspended custodial sentence and fines for libel.A number of the FSA officials were awarded compensation.In the Court of Appeal the sentences were brought down to mere fines and the number of people to receive compensation was reduced. The Supreme Court did not grant permission to appeal.Then in 2001 six top Finnish skiers were caught for using the Hemohes plasma expander at the World Championships in Lahti, Finland.Head coach Kari-Pekka Kyrö’s famous medicine bag containing doping equipment was found abandoned at a gas station.In 2004 Kyrö was convicted by a district court for smuggling of doping agents but also for an attempted fraud that related to the STT case. Kyrö had claimed in court that no doping was used during his time as a coach.In 2003 the State Prosecutor had also considered bringing charges against Vähäsöyrinki and Leppävuori. This did not happen, however. They were suspected at the time of unfounded disclosure and deceit.This past summer the VKSV asked the National Bureau of Investigation for an additional investigation into the matter based on Kyrö’s latest doping-related public statements.

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