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#pounditFriday, May 7, 2021

Report: Mikhail Prokhorov backing lawsuit against Russian doping whistleblower

The Russian government is still intent on attacking the credibility of the man who exposed the country’s elaborate doping program, and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is reportedly one of the people who is providing financial backing.

According to a report from Tariq Panja of the New York Times, Prokhorov is helping fund a defamation lawsuit against Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, whose uncovering of Russia’s state-sponsored doping program resulted in the country being banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The suit has been filed by three Russian biathletes — Olga Zaytseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina — who are seeking $10 million in damages after they had their silver medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics stripped.

Prokhorov was the leader of the Russian biathlon federation in Sochi, which likely explains his interest in the lawsuit.

Panja notes that the suit has little chance of succeeding, and Rodchenkov’s attorney says he is not concerned about it.

“This claim has zero chance of surviving a motion to dismiss,” James Walden told the new York Times. “It is as credible as the rest of Russia’s lies. So I will gladly defend it.”

Rodchenkov is currently living in the United States under federal protection. He recently issued an apology for his role in the doping program, which involved drug-testing bottles being tampered with to cover up performance-enhancing drug use.

“Clean urine was collected over a long period, since 2013,” Rodchenkov said. “It was stored at Sochi by the FSB. Athletes, their coaches or someone in their entourage was responsible for getting the DCFs [doping control forms] to my office. It ran like clockwork.”

The OIC has allowed 168 athletes from Russia to compete in PyeongChang, though they are being referred to as the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and not technically representing a nation.

Prokhorov has owned the Nets since 2010, and we have heard reports that he is considering selling the team.

H/T Yahoo Sports

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