Skiing: Finn fights hormone allegations

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The Independent Online
A PROSECUTOR yesterday charged the Finnish news agency STT with libel for reporting that the top Finnish skier Jari Rasanen had bought illegal growth hormones.

STT said that Rasanen had bought growth hormones on 24 January that are banned for competing athletes. The hormones had been stolen from a hospital in Sweden, the report said. STT also claimed that Finnish Ski Federation officials had been planning to buy large amounts of the performance enhancing substances.

However, after investigations in Finland and Sweden, Finnish police said they found no evidence of either Rasanen or Finnish ski officials being involved in, or planning, the purchase of hormones.

STT has not given sources for its report. In January it said it would reveal the names of the officials and details of Rasanen's alleged purchase, but so far has not done so. The writer of the STT report, Johann Aatsalo- Sallinen, and editor-in-chief, Kari Vaisanen, have both been charged with libel.

Rasanen, a relay silver medallist in the World Championships last year, has vehemently denied the allegations. He has threatened to sue STT for up to 2 million markkaa (pounds 242,000).

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