BC-OLY--Russia-Doping Fines,1st Ld-Writethru
MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian parliament has voted to impose fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($775) for athletes who dope after repeated investigations found widespread drug use among top athletes.
The amendments passed by the lower house of parliament Thursday mark the first moves in Russia to use the law to punish athletes.
Previously, only those who helped others to dope could be fined, though that legislation has been used rarely, if at all.
Only athletes deemed to have intentionally cheated would be subject to fines.
“Breaking anti-doping rules does not only contradict the principles of honesty and humanism, but in fact also is a kind of fraud,” said Pavel Krashennikov, a lawmaker who backed the measure, in a statement.
While most countries treat doping as a civil matter best suited to private arbitration, dopers in some countries face potential jail sentences if they are deemed to have won prize money by deceit.
International anti-doping watchdogs haven’t always welcomed Russian law enforcement getting involved in drug cases.
An ongoing Russian investigation into doping and malpractice at the Moscow anti-doping laboratory has sealed off many stored samples that the World Anti-Doping Agency wants to test.
The Russian investigation in that case has also argued that Russian athletes didn’t dope at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as WADA maintains, and that WADA’s star witness was in fact coercing otherwise clean athletes to use drugs.