Former world super-G champion Hannes Reichelt has confirmed he has been questioned in connection with the investigation into an international blood doping ring as ex-cross-country coach Gerald Heigl became the latest to be detained as part of the probe.
Reichelt, who has won 13 World Cup races during his career and was crowned world champion in 2015, said he had given a statement to police after they arrived at his house.
The 38-year-old denied he had been in involved in any doping and has provided assurances of his innocence to the Austrian Ski Federation (OSV).
Heigl, who worked as a coach for the OSV between 2004 to 2017, was detained earlier this week.
According to Agence France-Presse, Heigl is accused of having promoted doping of athletes from “various disciplines”.
He has been implicated by Austrian skier Johannes Dürr, whose revelations about blood doping in an ARD documentary sparked the raids conducted during the Nordic Ski World Championships in Seefeld and in Erfurt in Germany earlier this year.
The developments are the latest in the Operation Aderlass investigation, which has led to the arrest of athletes from sports including skiing and cycling for their alleged involvement in the doping ring.
All athletes detained as part of the probe have been released.
In comments posted by the OSV, Reichelt denied Heigl had helped him dope but confirmed he had worked with him during his career.
"They [the allegations] come from the cross-country skiing area," said Reichelt.
"The allegations are from a former serviceman and a good friend of Johannes Dürr.
"This servant man claims to have provided doping for Gerald H, who apparently was meant for me.
"I can clearly say that's not the case.
"Gerald went to school with me and a good friend of mine.
"Since 2005, Gerald has written training plans for me and in the last two years we have also trained a few times together.
"All I can say is that Gerald never mentioned doping to me and it was never an issue."
Five athletes were arrested in Seefeld, while a simultaneous raid was carried out in Erfurt in Germany, where doctor Mark Schmidt was detained.
At least 21 athletes from eight countries and five sports – three winter and two summer – are suspected of blood doping after police in Germany and Austria launched a targeted operation against what it believes is a worldwide drugs network.
Four cyclists - Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi, Croatia’s Kristijan Đurasek and Slovenians Kristijan Koren and Borut Božič - were provisionally suspended earlier this month.
Two other cyclists, Austrians Stefan Denifl and Georg Preidler, have also previously admitted to their involvement in the blood doping scandal.