Authorities Search Jan Ullrich's Home

Tuesday, September 12th 2006, 5:51 am
By: News On 6

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Former Tour de France winner Jan Ullrich's home in Switzerland was searched Wednesday by authorities, along with nine other homes and offices of people suspected of involvement in a Spanish doping scandal.

A statement by Germany's Federal Crime Office did not say whose homes or offices were searched. But Ullrich's manager, Wolfgang Strohband, confirmed that his and Ullrich's homes were raided.

The recently married Ullrich is on his honeymoon and was not at home during the raid, Strohband said.

The headquarters of Ullrich's former T-Mobile team in Bonn were also searched.

``We were of course cooperative,'' spokesman Christian Frommert said.

The searches _ both in Germany and abroad _ were part of the fraud investigation by prosecutors in connection with the probe of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

Five people in Spain _ including Fuentes and another doctor, Jose Merino Batres _ were arrested and charged in May when police seized drugs and frozen blood at a Madrid clinic. The samples were thought to have been prepared for performance-enhancing transfusions.

Nine riders, including Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo, were forced to withdraw before the start of this year's Tour de France because of alleged ties to Fuentes.

Ullrich, who won the 1997 Tour de France, was fired by his T-Mobile team. He has denied any wrongdoing and has declined to take a DNA test.

Wednesday's raids were part of the fraud investigation conducted by the Bonn prosecutors in connection with the probe that is targeting ``people suspected of fraud'' who allegedly cheated contract partners by using illegal doping methods. German federal agents were also present during the searches in other countries, the statement said.

Also Wednesday, a Hamburg judge ruled in favor of a complaint by Ullrich and ordered German anti-doping campaigner Werner Franke not to repeat allegations that Ullrich paid Fuentes $27,500 one year for performance-enhancing drugs.