Ullrich and Sevilla could face fraud charges

Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage could face legal proceedings in Germany after a charge

Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage could face legal proceedings in Germany after a charge


The prosecutor's office in the German city of Bonn are considering charging Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla and Rudy Pevenage with fraud and infractions of the law on the use of medical products. A criminal complaint against the trio has been made by Britta Bannenberg, a former athlete and now professor specialising in criminology at the University of Bielefeld.

Bannenberg says in her petition to the court that her accusation of fraud is based on the fact that "Jan Ullrich has hidden from T-Mobile the use of illegal substances and he has procured these using his salary and race prizes". Pevenage, who is Ullrich's long-time mentor and adviser, is accused based on his close link with the 1997 Tour de France winner.

This pair, plus Spanish rider Sevilla are implicated in the Operacion Puerto blood doping investigation in Spain. A decision on whether the case will be taken up against the three men is expected to be within the next week.

The Puerto inquiry took another step forward today when Eufemiano Fuentes and Jos Luis Merino, respectively the doctor and haematologist at the centre of the suspected blood doping ring, appeared in court in Madrid. Fuentes spent two hours being interviewed by the judge overseeing the case with a view to deciding whether or not the case will go to trial.

The decision is likely to depend on the results of tests undertaken on the bags of blood and plasma seized by Spanish police in various premises in Madrid. Fuentes has persisted with his denial of involvement in any type of blood doping.

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