Russian President Vladimir Putin accused US agencies of manipulating evidence from the main whistleblower on doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Putin said on Thursday that former Moscow anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov – who is under witness protection after fleeing to the United States last year – is “under the control” of the American agencies, including the FBI.
“It’s not a positive for us, it’s a negative. It means he’s under the control of American special services,” Putin said.
“What are they doing with him there? Are they giving him some kind of substances so that he says what’s required?”
Putin said Rodchenkov should never have been appointed to run Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory in the first place.
“It was a mistake on the part of those who did it, and I know who did it,” he said, but didn’t name names or say they should be punished.
Testimony from Rodchenkov played a key role in International Olympic Committee investigations which led last week to Russian athletes being required to compete under a neutral flag at the upcoming Pyeongchang Games.
Rodchenkov said he was ordered by the sports ministry to oversee steroid use by Russian athletes in many sports, and to cover up their doping by falsifying test results and swapping dirty samples for clean ones.
The IOC’s decision to trust Rodchenkov’s evidence is “nonsense,” Putin said, portraying the scientist as mentally unstable and referring repeatedly to Russian criminal investigations against him.