onsdag 23 september 2009

Six suspects still in frame over Finnish Ski Association doping case

Former cross-country skiing head coach Vähäsöyrinki not heard because of health problems. The seemingly never-ending saga over allegations of widespread doping in Finnish cross-country skiing is now entering the consideration of charges phase.
Det Chief Insp. Pauli Huuskonen, who is in charge of the investigation, disclosed in the commercial Finnish television channelNelonen’s news programme Nelosen uutiset that six individuals are still being treated as suspects.
“The criminal offences in question are aggravated fraud and false disclosure”, said Huuskonen.
The suspects are the former cross-country skiing head coach Pekka Vähäsöyrinki, the then cross-country skiing boss Antti Leppävuori, the Finnish Ski Association's then managing directorEsa Klinga, former top skiers Marjo Matikainen-Kallström and Jari Räsänen, and the Association's managing director from 2001 until earlier this year Jari Piirainen. The National Bureau of Investigation (Finland’s central criminal police) has heard 27 people in connection with the case. Background information was given by athlete and medical witnesses. According to District Prosecutor Mikko Jaatinen, who has been assigned to the case, the consideration of charges will be completed in the spring, at the earliest. Of the six suspects, Pekka Vähäsöyrinki has not been heard because of his health problems. Vähäsöyrinki has been the principal of Vuokatti Sports Institute since 1998. He will retire from this post at the beginning of November. Even if Vähäsöyrinki is not heard at this stage, he will still remain among the suspects. According to Huuskonen, it was clear from the start that the case would advance to the consideration of charges phase after the completion of the preliminary investigation. This is because the investigation was prompted by the Office of the Prosecutor General to begin with.

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