By Kayon Raynor
Swiss sprinter Alex Wilson is the latest athlete implicated in the ongoing major international doping fraud conspiracy case being led by the federal bureau of investigation (FBI) under the Rodchenkov Act.
The Jamaican-born Swiss sprinter, who secured 200m bronze at the 2018 European Championships joins the now banned Nigerian Blessing Okagbare as athletes connected the FBI’s major international doping fraud conspiracy case involving American naturopathic therapist Eric Lira.
The criminal complaint under the Rodchenkov Act does not specifically name Wilson and Okagbare, but include details suggesting they were among lira's clients.
The Athletics Integrity Unity,AIU, which confirmed on February 18 that Okagbare, who they banned for 10 years, was athlete 1 mentioned in FBI's case against Lira in January, further noted that "the criminal investigation in the united states is ongoing and the aiu is working closely with usada to follow developments in the matter.
It added that "the AIU is thankful to USADA, the FBI and the U.S Attorney’s Office for their contribution to the integrity of our sport."
However, responding questions from Radio Jamaica Sports about Wilson being the Swiss athlete mentioned in a grand jury document was evasive last week saying "Mr. Wilson remains provisionally suspended"
The body charged with overseeing integrity issues in athletics added "unfortunately we cannot comment at further at this point".
The seven-page grand jury document filed in the U.S Southern District of New York on March 8, a copy of which was obtained by Radio Jamaica Sports, shows a connection with Switzerland's Wilson.
At the time of his positive test, Wilson had insisted he was innocent and told Swiss Anti-doping Authorities that the positive test was caused by contaminated beef that he ate in a Jamaican restaurant in the United States.
The grand jury document made a similar reference to the Swiss athlete:
"on or about august 11 , 2021 , lira and a coconspirator not named herein ("cc- 1" ) discussed, among other things and via electronic communication , the fact that the swiss athlete should claim that his recent positive drug test result for the presence of a particular steroid was caused by the consumption of beef", the grand jury document read in-part.
Checks by Radio Jamaica Sports indicate that no other Swiss athlete is currently provisionally suspended on the AIU’s website.
The grand jury document mentioned that lira provided human growth hormone among other drugs to a sprinter based in Switzerland, who has competed in several international competitions.
The grand jury charges against Lira could spell disaster for Wilson who ran 9.84 and 19.89secs over 100m and 200m respectively on July 18 in the USA before the Ad Hoc division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport reinstated his provisional suspension on July 27, 2021, which forced him to miss the Tokyo Olympics.
Meanwhile, the grand jury document notes that the fbi has moved to ensure that lira who has been indicted on two counts, forfeits all property, proceeds and money obtained under the conspiracy.
"As a result of committing the offenses charged in counts one and two of the indictment, Eric Lira, the defendant, shall forfeit to the United States, any property real or personal, tangible or intangible, that was used or intended to be used, in any manner, to commit or facilitate a violation of said offenses, or that constitutes or is traceable to the proceeds taken, obtained, or retained in connection with or as a result of a violation of said offenses, including but not limited to a sum of money in United States currency representing the value of such property," the grand jury document read, in part.
The maximum term of imprisonment under the Rodchenkov Act is 10 years, and the maximum term of imprisonment for conspiring to violate the misbranding law is five years.