Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the Moscow anti-doping laboratory's former director whose allegations led to Richard McLaren’s investigation into claims of state-sponsored Russian doping at their home Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, has been accused of trying to induce athletes into taking unknown substances.
Rodchenkov, who has left Russia for the United States, alleged the Russian Sports Ministry "directed, controlled and oversaw" a "unique" method of sample manipulation during Sochi 2014, involving a sample-swapping method where they had been able to open and reseal tamper-proof bottles.
Commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), McLaren investigated the claims first made by Rodchenkov in the New York Times and produced his initial findings at a press conference in Toronto in July shortly before the beginning of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Rodchenkov's reliability as a source has been fiercely questioned in Russia, however, as he is considered a slanderous traitor guilty of crimes including "perjury, illegal trafficking, fraud and blackmail".
He is now the subject of allegations from the deputy chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee.
"Rodchenkov is known to have been persuading them to take substances possessing unknown properties," Ilya Lazutov is reported as saying by TASS, adding that testimonies to that effect had been made by numerous athletes whose names he was unable to disclose.
The Investigative Committee believes that "some criminal schemes may have been involved".
"He may well have created and led a criminal ring," added Lazutov.
"We are utterly curious how one can believe allegations by someone suspected of committing criminal offences."
Lazutov said that the Russian Investigative Committee has made an inquiry in the United States to obtain evidence from Rodchenkov.
Former Deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh, and more than 50 anti-doping officials, team coaches and managers have been questioned in the ongoing probe over the doping scandal involving Russian athletes.
McLaren alleged that Nagornykh personally labelled athletes' doping samples over the course of inspections.
It is claimed the marking code allowed Rodchenkov to put aside doped samples of medal-winning and promising Russian athletes in order to be swapped by the Federal Security Service (FSB) for clean samples.
"Requests for legal assistance have been sent to the US to receive testimony from Grigory Rodchenkov, to Canada, to the World Anti-Doping Agency to obtain the copies of materials that have formed the basis for Richard McLaren’s report," Lazutov said.
"While investigating the criminal cases, the Investigative Committee continues to be open to cooperation with the relevant agencies and non-Governmental organisations abroad, including the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee (IOC)."
McLaren's final report into doping in Russia will be released on December 9 at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.
WADA recommended Russia be handed a blanket ban from Rio 2016 as a result of the allegations from the first report, although the IOC rejected this and instead handed responsibility to individual International Federations.
The final report will be unveiled the day after the conclusion of an IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne.
McLaren's findings are expected to form the basis of two separate IOC investigations conducted by French judge and IOC Ethics Commission vice-chair Guy Canivet and by Swiss IOC member Denis Oswald.
It could then lead to many other repercussions, including winter sporting events being removed from Russia.