Russia wants U.S. to extradite doping whistleblower: investigators

A woman walks out of a building of the federal state budgetary institution "Federal scientific centre of physical culture and sports", which houses a laboratory led by Grigory Rodchenkov and accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), in Moscow, Russia, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it planned to ask the United States to extradite Grigory Rodchenkov, the ex-head of Russia's anti-doping laboratory who alleged a state-sponsored doping cover-up at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Rodchenkov last year alleged, after traveling to the United States, that Russia had orchestrated a sophisticated scheme to protect its doping cheats by substituting tainted urine samples with clean ones at the Sochi Games. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations. "The investigation plans to demand Rodchenkov's extradition from the United States," Russia's investigative committee said in a statement. It remains unclear how Rodchenkov could be extradited given that Russia and the United States do not have an extradition treaty. The investigative committee could not immediately be reached for clarification. The committee also denied that any sample tampering had taken place during the Sochi Games and said it had not found evidence of a state-sponsored doping program in the country. "The arguments of WADA independent expert McLaren on the substitution of positive doping tests with negative ones at the Sochi anti-doping laboratory during the Winter Olympics have been refuted, as well as the existence in Russia of a state doping program for athletes to win a maximum number of medals," the committee said. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been retesting all Russian athletes' samples from the 2014 Games following Rodchenkov's allegations. Last week cross-country skiers Alexander Legkov and Evgeniy Belov became the first Russians to be sanctioned for anti-doping rule violations as part of an IOC investigation into allegations of widespread doping among Russians and sample tampering by laboratory and security officials at the Sochi Games. The IOC has said it would decide on the participation of Russian competitors at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February during its executive board meeting next month. (Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)