U.S. Justice Department opens investigation into Russian doping scandal

The United States Justice Department has opened an investigation into state-sponsored doping by dozens of Russia`s top athletes, two people familiar with the case said Tuesday. The inquiry escalates what has been a roiling sports controversy into a federal criminal case involving foreign officials, according to The New York Times.
The United States attorney`s office for the Eastern District of New York is scrutinizing Russian government officials, athletes, coaches, anti-doping authorities and anyone who might have benefited unfairly from a doping regimen, according to the people, who did not have authorization to speak about the inquiry publicly. Prosecutors are believed to be pursuing conspiracy and fraud charges, The New York Times wrote.
Federal courts have allowed prosecutors to bring cases against foreigners living abroad if there is some connection to the United States. That connection can be limited, such as the use of an American bank.
A report published by the World Anti-Doping Agency in November accused Russia of systematic state-sponsored doping. The chemist identified as a linchpin in that operation — Grigory Rodchenkov, the longtime head of Russia`s anti-doping laboratory — told The New York Times this month that he worked for years, at the direction of the Russian government, to help the country`s athletes use banned, performance-enhancing substances in global competition and go undetected.
Dr. Rodchenkov is among the people under scrutiny by the United States government, said one of the two people with direct knowledge of the case.

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