Operación Puerto prosecutor dismantles Fuentes defense in final arguments

Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operacion Puerto

Eufemiano Fuentes was at the center of Operacion Puerto (Image credit: AFP Photo)

The final arguments were heard in the Operación Puerto trial, where five defendants including doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes face two years in prison for crimes against public health. The state prosecutor Lucia Pedrero systematically dismantled the defence of Fuentes, pointing out 12 "contradictions and lies" in the case, according to Europa Press.

Fuentes, his sister Yolanda, former sports directors Manolo Saiz and Vicente Belda and trainer José Ignacio Labarta are facing charges stemming from the 2006 Operación Puerto investigation that unearthed 224 blood bags, coded documents and other doping paraphernalia in Fuentes' clinic in Madrid.

According to the prosecution, the 12 lies laid out by the defense are: that Fuentes never endangered the health of his athletes; that analyses were done before and after extractions; that the blood was only taken out if hematocrit was too high; that the blood was kept to have in case of an accident; that the athletes were informed of the risks, that he did not perform transfusions on athletes in competition; that Jesus Manzano and Isidro Nozal were not his clients; that the refrigerated storage units had security systems; that he did not know that glycerol was for exclusive use in a hospital; that he used the codes for fear of the press; that his associate knew the identity of all the clients; and that the blood bags were damaged by the Civil Guard during the raid.

The defense hinges on Fuentes team proving that there were no violations of standard health practices. Fuentes argued that "The law only demands that the locations are hygienic," and said the locations the transfusions were performed "met the minimum requirements laid out by the law".

The prosecutions experts disagreed, in particular after hearing testimony from Tyler Hamilton - who spoke of his urine turning black after a botched transfusion - or from Jesus Manzano, who claimed to be near death after a similar experience.

"That Hamilton did not die was a miracle, when they put the blood of who only knows in him by mistake," Pedrero said.

Pedrero stated that the practices performed by Fuentes and his associates had no medical basis: "None, they only wanted to cheat at sport".

The World Anti-Doping Agency has called for the Spanish court to share its evidence in order for it to identify athletes and give sporting suspensions. It had previously been reported by Cyclingnews that the UCI had not joined in this request, as had also been stated in the Spanish press. However, the UCI clarified today that it has requested the evidence.

"Concerning reported allegations that during the trial of the Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes the UCI opted not to support the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) request to release details of names on blood bags, the UCI clarifies that this allegation is unfounded. WADA and UCI have both asked for this release. The request was done orally during the hearing and also by writing at the request of the Judge," a UCI press release stated.

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