Russian doping whistleblower countersues Nets owner, three Olympic biathletes

The Russian whistleblower who revealed a widespread system of doping in the country is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit against him and filed a countersuit Monday in New York against Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and three Russian biathletes.

Attorneys for Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Moscow lab director, filed a motion to dismiss a libel lawsuit biathletes Olga Zaytseva, Yana Romanova and Olga Vilukhina filed in New York Supreme Court in February seeking $30 million in damages from Rodchenkov.

That lawsuit has been financed by Prokhorov, the billionaire oligarch who has publicly defended Russian athletes implicated in the system of doping Rodchenkov revealed. The countersuit aims to identify other backers of the lawsuit and seeks unspecified damages.

“With today’s filings, the hunted becomes the hunter,” Jim Walden, Rodchenkov’s attorney, said in a statement. “Russia and its puppets have been persistently attacking Dr. Rodchenkov for too long, most recently with this frivolous lawsuit that parrots the Kremlin’s slander. Today’s legal action by Dr. Rodchenkov provides ample testament to the baseless nature of this Prokhorov-financed claim, which I believe was intended for the single purpose of attempting to locate Dr. Rodchenkov. In throwing this feeble punch, the plaintiffs and their oligarch financier should have better understood the laws of the state of New York, which fully protect Dr. Rodchenkov from attempts to use the courts as a means of retaliation and intimidation.”

Rodchenkov filed his countersuit under New York’s anti-SLAPP law, which protects the civil rights of people “who are victims of meritless lawsuits which are intended to harass and punish participants in public controversies,” according to the lawsuit.

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