Top athletes were customers of illegal hormone supply network
Spanish police say national and international athletes are under suspicion of illegally buying the hormone drug Erythro-poietin after a huge sports doping network was uncoverted.
The operation has led to the arrest of six people and the discovery of more than 850 doses of EPO, the largest seizure of its kind in Europe.
Those involved had been obtaining medications from the Spanish legal circuit for several years through a dialysis clinic in Cádiz.
The six people arrested in the provinces of Barcelona and Cádiz face alleged crimes against public health, belonging to a criminal organisation, money laundering, misappro-priation, fraud against Social Security and document falsifi-cation.
Operation HIPOXIANET operation started as a result of information received from the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sports which indicated that several athletes could be accessing this type of doping substances through purchase through the internet.
“In this way, the agents were able to identify at least seven web pages that offered different anabolic steroid products without any sanitary control, “ said a police spokesman. “All the domains were hosted on servers in countries like Iceland or tax havens like New Jersey, whose legisla-tion is more permissive in terms of web hosting.”
“These websites were aimed at potential clients nationally and internationally, in multiple languages and currencies, in which various types of medications such as hormones and steroids were offered. Some of them were dedicated exclusively to the sale of EPO, in which it was indicated that the mentioned hormone was sent from Spain.”
“At the moment the study and analysis of an im-portant volume of informa-tion obtained, after the final phase of the investigation, is being carried out in different computers, tele-phones, emails and current accounts based in Austria, Slovakia and Cyprus, showing a wide list of possible final consumers, among which it is expected that there will be a large number of national and international athletes, from different sports disciplines and levels, who accessed these doping substances in order to increase their physical abilities.”
So far, more than 800,000 euros have been blocked in different bank accounts and real estate / personal property, with more than 70,000 euros seized during the raids.
The network was operated by several citizens of Serbian nationality, one of them based in Barcelona.
Police believe the network had been operating for at least ten years and has netted millions of pounds.