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'Dr Mabuse' faces two-year sentence for illegal practice of medicine and inciting doping

Bernard Sainz on trial in Caen in 2017.
Bernard Sainz on trial in Caen in 2017. (Image credit: Getty)

Prosecutors have requested that Bernard Sainz, nicknamed ‘Dr Mabuse’, be sentenced to two years in prison and fined €30,000 for the illegal practice of medicine and for inciting  doping. 

On the final day of his trial in the Paris criminal court on Monday, the prosecution outlined that Sainz was no longer eligible to receive a suspended sentence due to his prior convictions, and it was also requested that he should be given a permanent ban from the fields of health and sport.

Sainz’s previous convictions include a two-year prison sentence (with 20 months suspended) in 2014, also for the illegal practice of medicine and incitement to doping, and in February 2019, he was given a one-year suspended sentence and a €2,000 fine by the Caen court of appeal. In 2013, Sainz was fined €3,000 after he was implicated in an investigation into the doping of race horses.

This current case follows an investigation by France Télévisions and Le Monde in June 2016, when a hidden camera showed Sainz outlining doping practices to riders.

The former junior world champion Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier confirmed to Liberation in 2017 that he had been of two riders to wear a hidden camera for the ‘Cash Investigation’ documentary that implicated Sainz.

“I wasn’t afraid, I just wanted to help bring an end to the Mabuse system,” Lecuisinier said. “If there is no trial, all of this will have been for nothing…”

The prosecution has also requested a nine-month suspended sentence and €5,000 fine for the former rider Loïc Herbreteau, who is suspected of putting athletes in contact with Sainz, while a six-month suspended sentence and €8,000 fine has been requested for the former actor Pierre-Marie Carlier, for placing his son and amateur rider Alexis in contact with Sainz. The verdict in the case is due on January 17.

According to AFP, the prosecution stated on Monday that Sainz was “dangerous for society,” citing how he had sometimes advised “vulnerable people” to stop treatments that had been prescribed by their doctors. 

Saiz’s defence claimed that their client had simply “made believe” in the peloton that he supplied doping products so as not to lose his reputation as a guru. “Everything is based on hearsay,” his lawyer Hector Bernardini said, according to Ouest France and AFP.

The 78-year-old Sainz, who defines himself as a “naturopath,” has been linked to professional cycling since the 1960s, and past clients include the late Philippe Gaumont and Frank Vandenbroucke. 

The nature activities reached a wider audience in the aftermath of the Festina Affair in 1998 but despite repeated cases in the intervening period, he continued to frequent professional cycling. In 2015, for instance, Libération reported that Sainz was present and wearing an accreditation at the start village in Livarot on that year’s Tour de France.

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