27 Mar 2012

Court rules Operation Greyhound anti-doping probe invalid

1:07 pm on 27 March 2012

A Madrid court has declared police evidence gathered in Spain's Operation Greyhound anti-doping probe as invalid, meaning the outstanding charges against the accused are to be shelved.

The ruling says the original investigation was given the go-ahead on illegitimate grounds and that phone recordings and materials gathered in raids, such as bags of blood, transfusion equipment and anabolic steroids, could not be used.

The ruling says police sought judicial authorisation to record phone conversations of suspects without the existence of a basic and consistent investigation and the case was based on mere conjecture, speculation and generalisations, without the rigour required to prove a crime of doping in sport.

Operation Greyhound hit the headlines in December 2010 when a series of raids by Spanish police across the country saw sports doctors, pharmacists, trainers, coaches, agents and athletes taken in for questioning.

Around 14 people were suspected of involvement in the trafficking of drugs and crimes against public health.

Spain's former world steeplechase champion Marta Dominguez was the highest profile person implicated but she was cleared of three charges last year.