The former head of the Moscow anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, will testify at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hearings of 42 Russian athletes banned for alleged doping violations, his lawyer has confirmed.
“Yes, he will testify but from a distance,” Rodchenkov’s lawyer, Jim Walden, told German media outlet Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, insidethegames reports.
The 59-year-old will give evidence at the hearings of athletes who are appealing their lifetime bans from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The athletes were banned over alleged doping offences at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and their appeals will be heard at CAS headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, the week beginning January 22.
In November, the IOC Disciplinary Commission, led by Swiss lawyer Denis Oswald, declared that Rodchenkov was a credible witness, allowing him to testify. The fugitive doctor fled Russia at the end of 2015 and his testimony on alleged state-run doping has since instigated a wave of sanctions against Russia.
On December 5, the IOC Executive Board banned Russia from the PyeongChang Winter Games due to allegations of state-sponsored doping relating to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Also in December, Rodchenkov was charged in absentia for illegally trafficking illicit drugs in his home country. The former doctor, who is reportedly living in the US under an FBI witness protection program, will be immediately arrested if he ever returns to Russia.
CAS announced in a statement on Tuesday that it had registered 42 appeals from 43 Russian athletes who had received IOC sanctions for alleged doping.
The sole athlete not to submit an appeal is bobsledder Maxim Belugin, who allegedly tested positive for banned drugs supposedly present in the “Duchess cocktail”, a potent mix of drugs supposedly designed by Rodchenkov and optimized to avoid detection in doping probes.
Initially 46 Russian athletes were charged with doping violations, however Olympic figure skating champion Adelina Sotnikova, ice hockey player Anna Shokhina and speed skater Denis Yuskov were all cleared of wrongdoing.
AP recently reported that CAS expects verdicts on the appeals to be issued by January 31, just nine days before the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which will be held from February 9 to 25.