German said to have defrauded Gerolsteiner
Stefan Schumacher will face fraud charges in the German courts. The regional appeal court in Stuttgart has ruled that the case concerning three months' salary from 2008 should be heard.
Schumacher tested postiive for EPO CERA during the 2008 Tour de France and at the Beijing Olympics. The positive tests were not made public until October of that year. For the three months in between, he continued to draw his salary from Team Gerolsteiner, for a total of about 150,000 Euros.
“His payment was based on a deception, therefore a financial damage has occurred,” the prosecutor said, according to stuttgarter-nachrichten.de.
The original charges were dismissed by a lower court, but the prosecutors appealed that decision. The case is expected to be heard in spring 2012.
A court spokesman said that the court ruled as it did because “In our opinion there is reason to believe that a crime has been committed.” The court's 14 page decision found that Schumacher purposely told untruths, had the intention of getting money he was not entitled to and that a financial damage occurred, all of which would fit the definition of fraud.
A similar case against Jan Ullrich was closed in 2008 with no action taken after Ullrich paid a “six-figure” sum to community institutions and the public charity.
This decision “is an interesting turn of events,” said former Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer, now with Katusha. “But to see what effect it has on the fight against doping, we must wast for the outcome of the case.”
Schumacher, who has consistently denied doping, did not appear particularly worried. “I won't say much about it, but I do have this to say I will cooperate and be available for questions. For me, the important thing is that I have found my way back in the sport.”
After serving a two-year suspension, Schumacher, 30, signed with team Miche. This season he has four victories for the Italian team, two stages each at the Vuelta a Asturias and the Azerbaijan Tour.
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