STT doping trial claims two convictions

Two Finnish skiing figures have been handed down conditional prison sentences for making false statements in a libel case against two journalists who claimed doping within the sport is widespread.

Coach Pekka Vahasoyrinki and former cross-country skier Jari Rasanen were given one-year and nine-month suspended sentenced respectively for fraud by the Helsinki District Court late last week.

Dozens of leading figures from the Finnish Skiing Association brought a libel case against the STT news agency after it published a report claiming that drug use among athletes was a common and accepted practice. The editor and the journalist who wrote the article were both convicted of libel and ordered to pay fines and compensation.

The prosecution in the latest trial, known as the STT doping case, claimed Rasanen and Vahasoyrinki, as well as former FSA leaders Antti Leppavuori and Jari Piirainen, made false statements in the libel case and benefited financially from the conviction.

All four men denied the charges, but only Piirainen and Leppavuori were eventually acquitted.

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