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CRIME

Ullrich could be charged after court says he paid doping doctor

Former cycling champion Jan Ullrich could face renewed criminal charges after a civil judge ruled that he had paid €55,000 to a doping doctor – despite having denied the payment on oath in court.

Ullrich could be charged after court says he paid doping doctor
Photo: DPA

Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday that 36-year-old Ullrich, who won the Tour de France in 1997, will likely face charges of giving false information under oath, and attempted fraud.

Hamburg’s state prosecutor dropped an investigation into such potential charges last month, but a district court has now ruled in a civil case, that he did in fact make the disputed €55,000 payment to Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor implicated in many cycling doping cases.

Ullrich opened a civil case against Werner Franke, an expert in the doping field, to stop him repeating his damaging assertion that Ullrich had made the payment to Fuentes.

The court decided on Friday that Franke was correct, opening up a strong possibility that the criminal investigation relating to the payments could be re-opened, the magazine reported.

Ullrich had denied on oath making such payments, or having any contact with the Spanish doctor.

“It cannot be accepted that Ullrich lied to the court and to me for four years with this statement, and now gets away with it,” said Franke, who is a professor in Heidelberg University.

He said he had spent tens of thousands of euros fighting the case. His lawyer has now launched an appeal against the dropping of the criminal charges against Ullrich.

This is just the latest chapter of an on-going fight between Ullrich and Franke – an initial court decision went in Ullrich’s favour, but was appealed by Franke.

Ullrich posted a message on his website dated Thursday, saying he had recently been diagnosed with burn-out syndrome. This will likely require lengthy treatment, he wrote.

“In order to enable a quick recovery, I will completely withdraw from the public over the next months,” the message says.

He appealed to the media to leave him and his family alone.

Ullrich’s reputation never recovered from his suspension from the T-Mobile cycling team and the legal wrangles which followed, including a fine of €250,000 which he paid in order to settle a court case against him.

The federal police compiled a report in 2009, which was leaked to Der Spiegel and clearly said that Ullrich had made use of Fuentes’ doping system in order to improve his performance – breaking his business contract.

The magazine also notes that Ullrich’s long-term advisor Rudy Pevenage recently stopped denying the doping allegations. “How can it do any good to continue lying? I organised Jan’s trips to Madrid to see Fuentes,” he told the French newspaper L’Equipe.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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