"Six-digit" payment involved
The Bonn, Germany, prosecutors have closed their investigation of Jan Ullrich, agreeing with him to make a "six-digit" payment to community institutions and to the public treasury. The investigation looked into charges that the former cycling star had cheated his employer T-Mobile, particularly through a connection with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. The amount of the payment was not disclosed but reckoned to be 250,000 euro. Ullrich did not admit to any guilt, and is not considered, under German law, to have been found guilty.
Ullrich had consistently said that he had never cheated anyone. "This claim does not necessarily weaken the legal charges, but it shows a subjective philosophy, which ruled throughout Germany and Europe at the time of his active career, as the investigation has shown," the Bonn prosecutors said in a press release, issued Monday morning. "This had to be taken into consideration in this decision."
Ullrich "was forced to ultimately end his career" because of the results of the investigation and the reluctance of any teams to sign him because of those results. "In addition to the loss of his career, the accused had and continues to have grave financial losses, and has suffered other additional damages," the statement continued. "The facts which have been uncovered in the investigation have namely led to the fact that the accused has had a high loss of public recognition and that his reputation as an athlete has been badly damaged."
The statement continued that any criminal actions by Ullrich "are considered to be minor, that since results of parallel investigations and other occurrences during this investigation (the confessions of other cyclists), it must be assumed that doping in cycling at the time under investigation was widespread."
Last week it was announced that materials taken into custody during a search of Ullrich's house in September 2006 would be turned over to the Bonn prosecutors. Monday morning the press statement said that this "important evidence (computer data, etc.) would be of extreme importance for further investigations in the doping field."
Ullrich is still under investigation by the Swiss Olympic Committee, which handles doping investigations for the Swiss cycling federation, which had issued Ullrich's license.
On his web site, janullrich.de, the former professional cyclist wrote that "There can be no confession because I have never cheated anyone." He said that he accepted the settlement in order "to free my family from the public pressure of the matter," and he further noted, "financial considerations played a role." But, he emphasized, "the payment is not an admission of guilt. The public attorneys never challenged me to make one."
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