Austrian lab employee under investigation

Bernhard Kohl in the mirror showing off his dots.

Bernhard Kohl in the mirror showing off his dots. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Austrian authorities are investigating an employee of the World Anti-Doping Agency-approved laboratory near Vienna for possibly illegally testing urine samples. Earlier this month Stefan Matschiner, the former manager of convicted doper Bernhard Kohl, said that he had paid employees of WADA-approved labs to test samples to help his athletes avoid detection.

Gerhard Jarosch, a spokesman for the public prosecutor, confirmed to the Austrian newspaper Kurier on Thursday that one employee was being investigated. He emphasised that the lab itself is outside of the investigation.

The head of the lab, Günter Gmeiner, previously denied that his lab and his employees were involved in such activities.

Matschiner declined to name the labs involved when interviewed earlier this month on German television. He said that more than one lab was involved and that they were located in "central Europe".

Austrian authorities questioned Matschiner again, and Jarosch said he had made clearer statements about the urine samples. However, a spokesman for the SoKo, the special commission handling the investigation, said that Matschiner failed to specifically name any lab or location involved.

The spokesman, Gerald Tatzgern, said that there was a reason why the employee of the lab in Seibersdorf was under investigation. "We don't just randomly look for suspects and possible perpetrators," he said. He did not elaborate on what evidence there was.

The employee had been previously questioned, and other Seibersdorf employees will also be questioned.

Kohl, who finished third overall and won the mountains classification at last year's Tour de France, tested positive for CERA in post-race examination. He was suspended for two years and subsequently announced his retirement at the age of 27.

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