Olga Zaitseva is one of three athletes to have lodged a criminal complaint ©Getty Images

Lawyers representing biathletes Olga Zaisteva, Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova have said criminal complaints have been lodged with the Swiss prosecutors office over alleged fake signatures by whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov.

Zaitseva last week saw a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel uphold an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Disciplinary Commission decision from 2017, based on evidence provided by Rodchenkov.

The panel agreed with the IOC that Zaitseva should be disqualified from Sochi 2014 for committing an anti-doping rule violation, which means Russia will be stripped of the medal the country won in the 4x6 kilometres relay event at the Games.

Zaisteva's relay team-mates Vilukhina and Romanova were successful in their appeals to CAS, however, and have had their individual results from Sochi 2014 – including Vilukhina's silver medal in the 7.5km – reinstated.

The CAS panel concluded "none of the acts alleged to have committed by these two athletes had been established to its comfortable satisfaction and beyond the mere suspicion" of doping.

Life bans handed to the retired trio were overturned by the CAS.

Lawyer Alexei Panich, who represented the three biathletes at CAS, claimed earlier this year that signatures provided by Rodchenkov, the former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory, on affidavits were fake.

Panich said Rodchenkov's signature was only on two of the nine documents presented at the hearing.

The lawyer claimed experts his team had hired established the other seven had been forged.

Criminal complaints have been lodged by the athletes over the allegedly forged signatures, Panich added.

"CAS ignored our statement about Rodchenkov's forged signatures on documents, which were key evidence in the case," he told the Russian state news agency TASS.

"However, realising that this could happen, the athletes, even before the CAS decisions were made, filed criminal complaints with the Swiss prosecutor's office demanding an audit.

"We want to know who made the forgery and why, and also why CAS did not pay attention to the fake signatures of the former head of the Moscow Anti-Doping Laboratory when it passed the verdict, in particular, on Olga Zaitseva."

CAS overturned the life ban of Russian biathlete Olga Vilukhina last week ©Getty Images
CAS overturned the life ban of Russian biathlete Olga Vilukhina last week ©Getty Images

Panich reportedly told Swiss newspaper Tribune de Geneve that an IOC representative had told the CAS hearing that Rodchenkov's signatures were genuine.

"Firstly, during all this time we have not been provided with documents with original signatures, and secondly, no convincing confirmation of the authenticity of the signatures has appeared – only a new and contradictory document was presented, the signature on which also raised serious doubts among experts about its authenticity," Panich was quoted as saying.

"It is obvious that the other side is trying to confuse the public with false statements.

"Our actions are balanced and deliberate.

"Obviously, the situation has reached a new level, and the adoption of CAS decisions on athletes does not close the issue of forged signatures.

"We hope that the verification of the Swiss judicial authorities will not be formal and will help to finally establish who signed for Rodchenkov and who is trying to denigrate our biathletes.

"Lying in documents with fake signatures did not help their authors, and the innocence of Olga Vilukhina and Yana Romanova has already been confirmed by the CAS decisions."

Rodchenkov's lawyer Jim Walden said in March that the signatures were genuine.

"Russia's latest defence to its intransigent doping crimes is its craziest yet as they preposterously claim that the affidavits detailing doping crimes by Russian athletes were forged," Walden said at the time.

"Apparently, Russia's backward legal system hasn't caught up with the advent of e-signatures.

"Rest assured, Dr. Rodchenkov's statements are his own and he approved every word of his affidavits."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it provided a notarised statement from Rodchenkov to CAS in March to confirm the authenticity of the affidavits.

The IOC added it has not been contacted by public prosecutor over the forgery allegations.

“Already in March 2020, the IOC provided CAS with a notarised statement executed by Dr Rodchenkov that confirmed the authenticity of all the affidavits submitted in the proceedings and which was accepted by the panel," an IOC spokesperson told insidethegames.

"The panel expressly found that the allegations of forgery had no merits. 

"All the information included in the affidavits has also been publicly released by Dr. Rodchenkov himself. 

"To date, the IOC has not been contacted by the public prosecutor in connection with these allegations.”

Zaitseva last week vowed to appeal the "political" CAS decision to confirm her Sochi 2014 disqualification to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

The Tribunal only intervenes based on potential procedural issues and on human rights, and will not make a judgement on the CAS panel's interpretation of the law.

The trio of biathletes appealed to the CAS following sanctions by the IOC Disciplinary Commission, handed down for their alleged involvement in Russia's state-sponsored doping scheme.

It followed evidence from the McLaren Report, as well as subsequent investigations by IOC Commissions.

The IOC's Oswald Commission decision on Zaitseva was also one of the stronger verdicts delivered and claimed she was a knowing participant in the state-sponsored doping scheme.