Sporting bodies have failed to address Russia's continued retaliation against Grigory Rodchenkov because it would be easier for them if he was killed, his lawyer Jim Walden claimed today as he accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of a cowardly response.
In a statement, Walden claimed he was told "point blank" by the IOC that they would take no action against Russia for their prolonged campaign against the former Moscow Laboratory director, who is now the main whistleblower into the investigation into Russian doping.
Walden also threatened to ensure Rodchenkov stops providing evidence to the IOC as he must "consider whether he should continue to compromise his own safety" to do so.
He claimed Russia would like to "silence" Rodchenkov to make his testimony in appeals by Russian athletes against their life bans for their participation in the "systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system, due to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the New Year, "impossible".
The IOC have defended themselves against Walden's claims.
"The IOC must act," Walden, a founding member of Walden Macht & Haran LLP law firm, said in a statement released today.
"I asked to meet with its officials, including Thomas Bach, by traveling to Lausanne at my own expense.
"I made suggestions on how the IOC could end this campaign against Dr. Rodchenkov, by requiring that Russia cease its retaliation.
"Their response: I was told - point blank - that the IOC would take no action against Russia for retaliating against Dr. Rodchenkov.
"I wonder why that is.
"Perhaps if Dr. Rodchenkov were 'no longer available', the corrupt persons who fought against a full ban against Russia would be happy.
"A problem would be solved.
"The currently unreported remainder of Dr. Rodchenkov’s evidence of international corruption and bribery would be buried."
Walden was responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who used his annual press conference to accuse United States security forces of drugging Rodchenkov to persuade him to reveal details of alleged institutional doping in the country.
The lawyer also reiterated his claims that Russia was "actively lobbying" for the return of Rodchenkov, who fled the country and is now in witness protection in the US.
Since speaking out and revealing the details of the doping scheme, Rodchenkov has been constantly discredited in Russia and has faced death threats from senior officials.
"As Dr. Rodchenkov’s lawyer, I can tell you that when the Russians are not busy accusing the US of drugging Dr. Rodchenkov, they are lobbying US Government officials behind closed doors for his extradition back to Russia," Walden's statement added.
"If they succeeded, Dr. Rodchenkov would face death and torture at their hands."
Rodchenkov provided much of the evidence which formed the basis of the IOC verdict that there was a "systemic manipulation" of anti-doping practices at events, including the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Russia will have to compete as neutrals - under the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" banner - at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang as a result.
Rodchenkov, speaking through Walden, had initially said the decision was the right one and that he was "proud" of the IOC.
Walden now claims it contains a "tragic loophole" which has the "potential to undo the effects of Dr. Rodchenkov’s truth-telling and to reward Putin’s continued denials and manipulation".
"Instead of embracing the clemency of this loophole, which they were lucky to receive, Russia has stepped up its retaliation against Dr. Rodchenkov," the statement read.
"The real actor with power in this drama is the IOC, which could fully ban even 'neutral' Russian athletes from the Olympics, prevent them from marching in Closing cCeremonies, or ban them from future Games based on Russia’s continued intransigence.
"Unfortunately, the IOC - who relied so prominently on Dr. Rodchenkov’s testimony in banning Russia from the Olympics - refuses to lift a finger to help him."
In a statement sent to insidethegames, the IOC struck back at Walden.
"The lOC categorically denies Mr Walden's claim that the IOC has taken no action and the ridiculous assertion that we would like it if Mr Rodchenkov 'were not to be available'," they said.
"The IOC coordinated with WADA who wrote to the Russian Sports Minister [Pavel Kolobkov] and the lOC to the Russian Olympic Committee to make it clear that Mr Rodchenko deserved protection as a whistleblower.
"The IOC is in contact with Mr Rodchenkov's lawyers through its own lawyers and has never at any time refused any dialogue.
"The IOC also wants to make clear that it is not in its powers to protect witnesses nor to comment on judiciary acts or protection, be it in the United States or Russia."