US Subpoenas World Aquatics Executive Director to Testify in Chinese Swimmers’ Doping Probe

The probe comes just weeks before the Olympics in Paris later this month.

The United States has opened a probe into a case involving 23 Chinese swimmers who were allowed to compete in the 2021 Olympics, despite testing positive for doping.

World Aquatics said that the U.S. government had issued a subpoena to its executive director to testify as a witness in the probe, just weeks ahead of the Paris Olympics.

“World Aquatics can confirm that its Executive Director, Brent Nowicki, was served with a witness subpoena by the United States government,” the federation said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

The international swimming federation said that Mr. Nowicki “is working to schedule a meeting with the government, which, in all likelihood will obviate the need for testimony before a Grand Jury.”

The FBI said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times that “per our standard practice, the FBI does not confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for comment but did not hear back by publication time.

The investigation is occurring ahead of the Summer Olympics in Paris, which will be held between July 26 and Aug. 11, in which 11 of the Chinese swimmers involved in the case will be competing.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said in a statement that it was disappointed to learn of the U.S. investigation, though the agency has not been contacted or received any request to assist in the probe.

WADA said it had reviewed the case “diligently” and consulted with experts before coming to a conclusion that “it was in no position to challenge the contamination scenario, such that an appeal was not warranted.”

“Guided by science and expert consultations, we stand by that good-faith determination in the face of the incomplete and misleading news reports on which this investigation appears to be based,” it stated.

WADA said the reports about the investigation “validate the concerns expressed broadly by the international community” about the Rodchenkov Act, which allows investigations into suspected doping conspiracies even if they occurred outside the United States.

The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party previously sent a letter to the DOJ and FBI, calling for an investigation into the case under the Rodchenkov Act.

They cited The New York Times report that 23 Chinese swimmers competed in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics despite testing positive for trimetazidine (TMZ), a banned substance classified as a “metabolic stimulator” by WADA, several months before the games.

“It is imperative to assess whether these alleged doping practices were state-sponsored, which could warrant further diplomatic measures by the United States and the international community,” the Committee said in the letter.

In a statement on April 20, WADA said it was notified in June 2021 of China’s findings that the swimmers had tested positive for TMZ “after inadvertently being exposed to the substance through contamination.”

The agency then reviewed the decision, including gathering scientific information on TMZ and consulting with independent scientific experts, according to the statement.

“Ultimately, we concluded that there was no concrete basis to challenge the asserted contamination,” Prof. Olivier Rabin, WADA senior director, Science and Medicine, said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This report has been updated with a statement from World Aquatics.

 

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