On Thursday, prosecutors in Munich brought charges against Mark S., who is accused of masterminding a blood doping network, and four of his accomplices. Prosecutors say they were involved in doping in multiple winter sports, as well as cycling.
The doctor is also charged with causing serious bodily harm in a 2017 incident in which a female athlete suffered side effects after she said she was administered red blood cells. He is accused of falsely telling the athlete that they were safe and sterile.
“It’s possible the sports doctor is facing a multiyear prison sentence,” Munich prosecutor Anne Leiding told the German news agency SID. “For the others, it depends on the information about their concrete involvement in the crime.”
Prosecutors accuse Mark S. of carrying out blood doping around the world “regularly and in an unknown number of cases” since the end of 2011. They said athletes were given blood transfusions and growth hormones as part of “sophisticated treatment plans” aimed at increasing performance and minimizing the risk of failing drug tests.
Thursday’s charges stem from raids carried out in February at the world cross-country ski championships in Austria and at the home of Mark S. in Erfurt. Known as Operation Aderlass (“bloodletting”), the case involves police and anti-doping authorities from across Europe and the United States.
Prosecutors said they had identified 23 athletes from Europe who had used blood doping. In October, former skier Max Hauke was sentenced to five months probation in Austria for sports fraud. Ski coach Mati Alaver received a one-year suspended sentence in Estonia last month.
Editor’s note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and urges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.
dr/mkg (AP, SID, dpa)