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WADA Launches Probe into Corruption, Doping Cover-ups by International Weightlifting Federation

In a report released earlier this month, Richard McLaren and his team found corrupt practices prevalent at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) for decades and also discovered that the world body hid doping infractions.
International Weightlifting Federation former president Tamas Ajan

Richard McLaren’s investigation report said that Tamas Ajan, who has been associated with the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) since the mid-1970s, used ‘the tyranny of cash’ to maintain control over member associations.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) started an investigation into doping violations after an inquiry initiated by Richard McLaren uncovered 40 adverse analytical findings that were hidden in the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) records.

In a report released earlier this month, McLaren, a Canadian law professor whose findings in 2016 led to Russia’s ban from all international athletics competitions, including the Rio Olympics, told reporters that the IWF was filled with corruption. The corruption included accusations of vote buying, doping cover-ups and $10.4 million in cash that has not been accounted for. Meanwhile, Tamas Ajan, former president of IWF, has denied any wrongdoing.

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“WADA is appalled by the behavior exposed by the McLaren Investigation Team,” president Witold Banka said in a statement. “The agency condemns all interference with anti-doping procedures with the utmost vigor.

“These revelations are incredibly upsetting for clean athletes, for WADA and for all advocates of clean sport.”

McLaren’s investigation report said that Ajan used ‘the tyranny of cash’ to maintain control over member associations.

The investigation pointed towards Ajan’s primary source of cash being doping fines that were paid personally to him. Withdrawal of large amounts of money from the IWF’s accounts, often made right before a major competition or IWF congresses, substantiate this claim.

The 81-year-old Hungarian had been a part of the IWF since the mid 1970s, serving as the secretary general and then as president from 2000 till he resigned in April.

WADA said the information it holds covers a timeline from 2009-2014 and its own investigation is going to prioritise those cases that are close to the statute of limitations.

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