Russian doping Whistleblower seeks dismissal of libel lawsuit, sues Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov
A whistleblower who helped expose Russian cheating at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi wants a libel lawsuit tossed.
The lawsuit was initially filed on the behalf of three Russian biathletes, Olga Zaytseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina, who were stripped of their medals for doping.
The whistleblower, Grigory Rodchenkov, also sued Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in New York State Court. Prokhorov sold a chunk of his stake in the Nets earlier this month, but is still the team’s controlling owner.
“With today’s filings, the hunted becomes the hunter,” Jim Walden, a lawyer for Rodchenkov said in a statement. “Russia and its puppets have been persistently attacking Dr. Rodchenkov for too long, most recently with this frivolous lawsuit that parrots the Kremlin’s slander. Today’s legal action by Dr. Rodchenkov provides ample testament to the baseless nature of this Prokhorov-financed claim, which I believe was intended for the single purpose of attempting to locate Dr. Rodchenkov. In throwing this feeble punch, the plaintiffs and their oligarch financier should have better understood the laws of the state of New York, which fully protect Dr. Rodchenkov from attempts to use the courts as a means of retaliation and intimidation.”
Rodchenkov’s lawyers call the libel lawsuit an “effort to intimidate and silence him, and also sued the financiers of the athletes,” and also called the biathletes support by Prokhorov’s as an attempt to reveal where Rodchenkov is living in the United States after he fled Moscow in November 2015.
The Russian government has continued to stall investigations into doping. Prokhorov has publicly defended Russian athletes who have been implicated in Russia’s systemic doping.
The entire Russian Olympic Committee was banned from this year’s Olympics, with athletes that were allowed to go to Pyeongchang, South Korea competing under the banner of Olympic Athletes from Russia.
Rodchenkov issued the following statement through his lawyers:
“I thank my team of lawyers who are fighting for me. I am healthy and well, and also well protected. I continue to cooperate with criminal and anti-doping authorities. Despite Russia’s recent disinformation campaign, all of the information I gave to the IOC and WADA was completely accurate, and I did not retract a word of it. I will continue to fight for clean athletes and for reform, even as international agencies desperately try to find a way to allow Russia to turn the page.”