An undercover media investigation has exposed a Swiss doctor apparently prescribing banned substances to athletes to enhance their performance. The exposé was secretly filmed as part of a joint report, including the Swiss online magazine Republik.
The unnamed doctor, in canton Bern, was caught on camera explaining to a young cross-country skier how to cheat by using EPO or by injecting testosterone. When asked by the athlete about the risks of being caught, he replies:
“The chances that you have to piss are maybe 1:100,000. And if you piss here in Switzerland and ‘testo’ is found, nothing will happen. You might have to pay CHF100 fine and you then can't compete for a year in that sport with your federation. But there are no legal consequences in Switzerland. We are relatively relaxed in that regard.”
The damning evidence comes in the same week that 28 Russian athletes had their Olympic doping bans controversially overturned by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
When questioned by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper, the doctor denied the allegations and charges that he had been in communication with a Russian athletics doctor in recent years. He admitted to having his offices raided by Swiss prosecutors earlier in the week, but said the investigation was unrelated to the allegations being put to him.
Following further investigating by the newspaper SonntagsBlick, it also emerged that the doctor was linked with two projects on behalf of the Swiss state: one as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Swiss army, in its sport section, and another with the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), where he provided medical assistance for asylum seekers.
On Sunday, a spokesman for the army confirmed to the Swiss News Agency, ATS, that the collaboration with the doctor had been suspended following the accusations.
The doctor, reportedly a keen amateur athlete, has since refused to speak to the media. The initial media undercover investigation was carried out by Republik, the German television station ARD, the British Sunday Times newspaper and Swedish network SVT.