Public prosecutors in Vienna, Austria have closed their investigation of Bernhard Kohl and Michael Rasmussen without taking any action against them. They had been under investigation for their possible involvement in a a blood-doping scheme.
Retired Olympic cross-country skier Christian Hoffmann was also cleared of the charges.
The authorities said that the three athletes had been financially involved in the purchase of a blood centrifuge along with manager Stefan Matschiner. However, there was found to be no proof that they allowed others to use the centrifuge for payment, which would have been illegal.
“This decision by the prosecutors only goes to prove that Mr. Kohl has always told the truth,” said his attorney, Manfred Ainedter. Kohl, who has since retired from the sport, now operates a bike shop in Vienna and can now “look to the future with confidence,” Ainedter told the APA news agency.
Matschiner told Orf.at that the decision “was right. This investigation was only about whether Bernhard, through financing the machine, also could have earned anything from it later. He didn't.” Charges against Matschiner are still pending.
Kohl, who won the mountain jersey in the 2008 Tour de France, was stripped of the title when he tested positive for EPO-CERA during the Tour. After making a full confession, he was given a two-year ban which expires the beginning of next month.
"I have heard nothing from the Austrian authorities so therefore I can not comment on the developments which have apparently taken place, according to the media," Rasmussen told politiken.dk.
I will wait until I have received an official statement from Austria to comment further," he added.
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