Biathlon investigating vice president over doping

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SALZBURG, Austria (AP) — Biathlon's governing body is stepping up its investigation into alleged doping infringements by one its vice presidents.

The International Biathlon Union has been gathering information since vice president Gottlieb Taschler of Italy temporarily stepped down on Saturday amid media reports he is under criminal investigation for helping his son Daniel obtain doping substances from banned doctor Michele Ferrari.

Taschler has denied any wrongdoing and called the accusations "simply not true."

The IBU said on Wednesday it contacted the Italian Olympic Committee, and the national and world anti-doping agencies, NADO and WADA, as well as the Padua city attorney general, "and requested to share any available, relevant information."

However, the Padua prosecutor's document that media based their reporting on, "is not in the public domain, yet," the IBU said, adding it "is not able to comment further but we will share new, relevant information when available."

Italian media reported last week that prosecutors were investigating Gottlieb Taschler for allegedly connecting his son, who is a member of the Italian biathlon team, with Ferrari in an apparent attempt to obtain the banned blood-booster EPO.

The reports quoted transcripts of phone calls dating from 2010 between Daniel Taschler and Ferrari, an Italian physician who was banned for life in 2012 for numerous breaches of anti-doping rules.

The 27-year-old Daniel Taschler has so far competed in one World Cup, a sprint in his native Antholz in 2011.

Gottlieb Taschler didn't show up at a World Cup in Hochfilzen, Austria, on Friday before formally stepping aside the next day "until these serious accusations are proven invalid," adding that he planned to fully cooperate "in clearing up these massive accusations which put both me and my son's integrity at risk."

The 53-year-old Taschler is a former biathlete who won bronze with the Italian relay team at the 1988 Calgary Olympics. He has been on the IBU executive board as a vice president since 2006.

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