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Schmidt faces potential prison sentence with verdict due in doping trial

German doctor, Mark Schmidt, faces a potential five-and-a-half-year prison sentence when a court rules on his involvement in an alleged international blood doping ring.

Schmidt has been accused of masterminding the doping network, which was uncovered by authorities in 2019.

Schmidt and four co-defendants, who have been accused of aiding him, were placed on trial last year with prosecutors accusing them of helping the athletes undergo blood transfusions.

The doctor admitted during the trial that since 2012 he had been using doping methods and given prohibited substances to athletes.

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He claimed he had not initiated the doping network but had been meeting demand, having received requests from athletes.

Schmidt and the co-defendants could have faced jail for up to 10 years if found guilty, under anti-doping legislation introduced in Germany in 2015.

According to Agence France-Presse, prosecutors have requested the court hand Schmidt a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors have also asked for Schmidt to be banned from practicing medicine for a further five years.

Schmidt apologised last week and expressed regret for involving his co-defendants.

“I took a wrong turn, it’s all my fault,” Schmidt said.

“I am infinitely sorry that I dragged the other four into it”.

Several athletes have also faced sanctions as part of the “Operation Aderlass” blood doping scandal.

Austrian cyclist Stefan Denifl was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this week, with 16 months of the sentence handed down by the Innsbruck regional court being suspended.

Austrian skier Johannes Dürr, whose blood doping revelations in a documentary by ARD in Germany sparked the Aderlass investigation, was also jailed for his involvement.

Sentences have also been given to skiers Max Hauke and Dominik Baldauf.

Cyclist Georg Preidler was spared jail last year, receiving a one-year suspended sentence.

Operation Aderlass was launched in 2019 and sparked police raids at the Nordic Ski World Championships in Seefeld in Austria and in the German city Erfurt.

Around 40 blood bags and other items associated with doping were reportedly seized during the raids in Germany.

Blood was said to have been taken around the world to Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia and the American state of Hawaii.

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