While the Russian Olympic Committee has been banned from participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the country’s far-reaching doping scandal appears to have found its way into NBA circles.
Brooklyn Nets and Barclay’s Center owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been accused of helping suppress evidence of doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Cohen and Nathan Hodge.
Grigory Rodchenkov, the former anti-doping lab chief who blew the whistle on Russia’s state-run doping program, testified that billionaire Prokhorov, a Russian citizen, bribed athletes with “millions of rubles” to keep the program under wraps.
Citing information relayed by Irina Rodionova, a doctor who helped facilitate the athletes’ steroid use, Rodchenkov claimed that biathlete Irina Starykh had considered exposing Russia’s drug programming before a bribe from Prokhorov bought her silence.
Both Starykh and a representative of Prokhorov have denied Rodchenkov’s testimony.
Prokhorov began the process of divesting from the Nets in October when he agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in the team to e-commerce mogul Joseph Tsai, with the expectation of transferring full ownership to the Alibaba co-founder within the next four years.