Ex-skier Hauke sentenced for sports fraud in doping case
VIENNA (AP) — Former cross-country skier Max Hauke of Austria has been sentenced to five months on probation and fined 480 euros ($533) for severe sports fraud after being caught doping.
A regional court in Innsbruck on Wednesday found the two-time Olympian guilty of unlawfully obtaining prize money and sponsorship funds, having used growth hormones and blood doping from April 2016 until his arrest during the Nordic world championships in Seefeld in February.
The 27-year-old Hauke, who admitted the doping charges, was earlier banned from the sport for four years, though he confirmed Wednesday he wasn't considering a comeback.
Judges ruled that Hauke's confession and the fact he had already paid back parts of his earnings from prize money and sponsorship were mitigating conditions.
Hauke said the use of doping was his own decision and that he started doing it in order to peak during the home world championships.
The Austrian failed to get a top-10 result in seven years on the World Cup or at the Sochi and Pyeongchang Olympics.
Hauke was one of five skiers among a group of nine people arrested during the Feb. 28 raids at the worlds in Seefeld and in Erfurt, Germany.
Hauke was seen in a police video, which soon after his arrest surfaced on social media, showing him apparently caught with a needle in his arm.
The arrests also included a German doctor, who allegedly led an international blood doping network, which according to German prosecutors involved as many as 21 athletes from five sports.
Hauke said he was connected to the German doctor by fellow cross-country skier Johannes Duerr, who has been banned for life for his alleged role in the network.
Duerr, who was expelled from the 2014 Sochi Olympics for the use of EPO, was the whistleblower for Operation-Aderlass, the criminal investigation into the international doping ring.