Fränk Schleck of CSC-Saxo Bank was reportedly "unmasked" Friday as a customer of Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor whose Madrid clinic was raided by Spanish police in 2006 as part of Operación Puerto. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that investigators have evidence of nearly seven thousand Euro being wired to Fuentes' Swiss bank account in March 2006. The Luxembourg Attorney General Robert Belver confirmed the existence of the payment.
"Yes, there is this payment of about 7000 Euro to Mr. Fuentes. I have received copies of the bank documents from Germany," Biever told the SZ. "Several weeks ago I sent these documents concerning Schleck to the Luxembourg Anti-doping Agency."
The documents were uncovered by the German Bundeskriminalamt (federal police), which confirmed the matter. "Luxembourg is responsible, that's why we sent them the papers," press spokeswoman Anke Spriesterbach told the newspaper.
In addition, the newspaper says that it has seen witness statements claiming that Schleck and CSC manager Bjarne Riis visited Fuentes in Madrid as early as December 2005.
The newspaper further stated that research shows that Schleck is the one identified with the name "Amigo di Birillo". Birillo has been identified as Ivan Basso, Schleck's friend and former teammate, who confessed his involvement with the Spanish doctor last year.
On Friday, Schleck told the SZ, "I have not doped." But he confirmed that he had an appointment with the Luxembourg Anti-doping Committee. "Of course I will take the time to clear this situation up."
Riis told the newspaper, "Frank confirmed to me that he hadn't done anything wrong. hasn't violated any anti-doping rules."
Schleck is currently in Varese for the World Championship road race on Sunday.
French antidoping chief Pierre Bordry said that the announcement of retroactive testing on Tour de France samples could be the reason for several riders not taking the start in Varese. According to news agency AFP, the samples of some 30 riders will be re-tested.
The samples had been selected from riders whose initial testing in the lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, gave "inconclusive" results. Bordry later confirmed that the lab would specificially look for CERA, a new variant of EPO, for which Riccardo Ricco tested positive during the Tour.
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto
(Editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer)
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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