NEWS

Doping probe gets under way

The weightlifters at the center of the recent doping scandal are due to begin appearing before a prosecutor today after the judicial investigation into the affair began yesterday, while inspectors raided the headquarters of the Greek Weightlifting Federation (EOAB). Eleven athletes who tested positive for banned substances in March are due to appear before prosecutor Andreas Karaflos as well as coach Christos Iakovou and EOAB officials. Karaflos began his probe yesterday by hearing from retired weightlifter Christos Constantinidis, who claimed in 1997 that Iakovou had tried to give him banned substances. However, soon after making the allegations 11 years ago, Constantinidis retracted his claims. Nikos Kourtidis, one of the three weightlifters who passed the doping test, also appeared before Karaflos and reportedly defended Iakovou, saying he did not believe the coach would ever give his athletes steroids. Also yesterday, inspectors from the financial crimes squad raided the EOAB headquarters in search of documentation that might relate to the importing of substances from China and whether the federation has a history of importing such products. EOAB has blamed Iakovou for using a middleman to import Chinese supplements without the federation’s approval. Meanwhile, authorities revealed on Monday that they have confiscated 91,200 pills containing anabolic steroids at Athens International Airport. The pills were seized after a tip-off from French police. The drugs were being transported by a courier service and had been sent from Thailand. They were addressed to someone living in the Ilioupolis suburb of Athens. Authorities allowed the recipient to be notified to collect the package but nobody turned up. Police believe the name listed on the package is fake.