17 Mar 2021
2020/ADD/7 International Ski Federation v. Andrus Veerpalu
2020/ADD/13 International Ski Federation v. Andrus Veerpalu
During the FIS 2019 Nordic World Ski Championships in Austria from 19 February to 3 March 2019, the Austrian police raided the belongings of several athletes and athlete support personnel from Austria, Estonia and Kazakhstan on suspicion of violating Austrian anti-doping laws. Simultaneously, German police officers searched the medical practice of Dr Mark Schmidt in Erfurt, Germany. This joint police operation became publicly known as the Operation Aderlass.
The police searched the hotel room of the Athlete Andrus Veerpalu in Seefeld during the raid and found a heavy box containing medical equipment, supplements and prohibited substances. The same hotel room was also used by the Athlete Alexey Poltoranin for prohibited blood doping treatments.
Following the police raids in Seefeld and Erfurt, law enforcement authorities of Germany, Austria and Estonia initiated criminal investigations and proceedings against a number of athletes and support personnel.
The Austrian and German Police provided the International Ski Federation (FIS) with all the evidence and intelligence they had gathered in the context of the Operation Aderlass such as minutes of wire-taped conversations and in-person interrogations, mobile phone messages, surveillance photos and indices of confiscated items.
As a result in September 2019 FIS openend proceedings against the Athlete Andrus Veerpalu and reported an anti-doping rule violation for Complicity and his failure to cooperate in full with the FIS investigations. After notification a provisional suspension was ordered and FIS filed a request for arbitration with the Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS ADD).
FIS contended that the final report of the Austrian Police constitutes clear evidence that the Athlete committed anti-doping rule violations. The evidence shows that the Athlete granted access to his hotel room to Dr Mark Schmidt to perform blood transfusion on the Athlete Alexey Poltoranin thereby being an accomplice to Alexey Poltoranin’s admitted blood doping during the World Championships in Seefeld.
In addition FIS contended that there is evidence that that the Athlete purchased the prohibited product IGF-1 from one of Dr Mark Schmidt’s providers of prohibited substances.
The Athlete disputed the jurisdiction of the CAS ADD in this case and denied that he had knowledge at all of the doping scheme admittedly organized and orchestrated by the manager of the Estonian team. He stated that he had no links to the Estonia team and worked only as a service staff member for the team of Kazakhstan.
The Athlete only acknowledged that in December 2016 he had picked-up a parcel. He was told that it contained medication for the Athlete Alexey Poltoranin and in return he gave an envelop with money to a man.
The CAS ADD Sole Arbitrator establishes that the alteration in the disciplinary body from FIS Doping Panel to the CAS ADD in the 2019 FIS ADR being procedural, applied to the Athlete and confirms the jurisdiction of the CAS ADD to decide this matter.
Considering the evidence in this case the Sole Arbitrator is comfortably convinced that the Athlete not only knew about but also was actively involved in allowing Dr Mark Schmidt to perform blood doping on Alexey Poltoranin by storing necessary equipment and grating access to his room. By doing so he committed an anti-doping rule violation by being intentionally complicit in the blood doping performed on Alexey Poltoranin.
Further the Sole Arbitrator is convinced that by purchasing IGF-1 fromon of Dr Schmidt’s providers on 4 December 2016 he intentionally aided and assisted the doping practice of an Estonian Athlete and other members of the Estonian Team.
Therefore the Court of Arbitration for Sport decides on 17 March 2021 that:
- The Anti-Doping Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport has jurisdiction to decide on the subject matter of this dispute.
- The request for arbitration filed by the International Ski Federation is admissible.
- Andrus Veerpalu is found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation in accordance with Article 2.9 FIS ADR 2016.
- Andrus Veerpalu is sanctioned with a 2-year period of ineligibility starting from the date of the final CAS ADD Award.
- All other motions or prayers for relief are dismissed.