By Susan Westemeyer
The German prosecutor who is investigating Jan Ullrich says he thinks things will be wrapped up by the end of the year. He does not dismiss the possibility of closing the case without filing charges against the German cyclist, but only if Ullrich confesses and cooperates.
In an interview with the Bonn General-Anzeiger, chief prosecutor Fred Apostel said that Ullrich would have to "earn" the closing. That would involve the payment of a fine, as well as a confession to having doped and his active cooperation in exposing the doping network. Ullrich's attorney had offered last March to pay a fine in exchange for closing the investigation, but "That was too little for us then and it is still too little for us today," Apostel said.
He added that he is still waiting for further documents to be delivered from Switzerland, and has not given up hope on receiving five computer hard drives from Spain.
Apostel is investigating Ullrich for fraud, but not in his role as a rider for the former Team Telekom and as an employee of Olaf-Ludwig-Cycling GmbH, but rather for his supplementary contract as a public representative for sponsor Deutsche Telekom. He indicated that he assumes that the Deutsche Telekom board of directors was unaware of doping practices in the cycling team and did not condone them.
The Bonn, Germany, prosecutors' office is also conducting investigations of Ullrich mentor Rudy Pevenage, for violating prescription medicine laws, and of Patrik Sinkewitz, for defrauding Bob Stapleton's team, which holds the team license.