Doping search widened

Police raided the training facilities of the Greek weightlifting team and a pharmacy in Athens yesterday as part of the judicial investigation into the doping scandal in which the national team has become embroiled. Less than 24 hours after being instructed to head the probe, prosecutor Andreas Karaflos led a team of some 30 police officers and inspectors from the National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) in a raid on the Aghios Cosmas sports center in southern Athens, where Greek weightlifters train. Officers also searched the athletes’ lockers and rooms in an effort to find any evidence that would help the investigation into why 11 members of the national weightlifting team failed doping tests. The search reportedly revealed links to a pharmacy in the downtown neighborhood of Kolonos, where another raid was conducted in the afternoon. Sources said that officers seized 870 capsules and 500 milligrams of an unidentified powder. There was equipment at the pharmacy that could be used to fill the capsules, sources added. Karaflos also visited the headquarters of the Greek Weightlifting Federation and spoke to its president Nikos Skiadis, who is expected to give evidence in the probe. The prosecutor took away with him documents relating to doping tests conducted by the federation. Karaflos is expected to ask the police’s electronic crime squad to check whether an e-mail reportedly sent by a company in China, which claims it mistakenly supplied tainted food supplements to the weightlifting team, is genuine. A lawyer for the team’s suspended coach, Christos Iakovou, has claimed that the Chinese company has accepted full responsibility for the Greek athletes being supplied with the wrong product and testing positive for steroids. Iakovou was due to be questioned yesterday but this was postponed. Iakovou is expected to submit a written statement today claiming that he never gave the athletes banned substances.

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