Schumacher acquitted of fraud charges

Stefan Schumacher has been acquitted on charges of defrauding his former Gerolsteiner team manager Hans-Michael Holczer by a German court today.

The Stuttgart state court ruled in favor of Schumacher, who tested positive for the erythropoeitin drug Mircera (CERA) in tests done on his samples taken in the 2008 Tour de France, in which he won both time trials. The prosecutors sought a fine of three months' wages (150,000 euro) plus a fine of 16,800 euro, according to the dpa news agency.

The judge, Martin Friedrich, ruled that the statements of Holczer were not sufficient to establish guilt of the criminal charges of fraud.

The president of the German Cycling Federation (BDR), Rudolf Scharping said the ruling "doesn't change the fact that doping is a fraud on the fairness of the competition, and to the spectators, and it endangers the health of dopign athletes."

In March, Schumacher confessed to doping with corticosteroids, EPO and growth hormone, and claimed that the team doctors were involved, and Holczer was well aware of what was going on. "“Anybody could just take most of the things right from the medicine box. It was totally crazy," he told Der Spiegel.

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