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Source: Hospital records seized

8/25/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Prosecutors seized the hospital records
Wednesday of two Greek sprinting stars who withdrew from the
Olympics after they missed a doping test and were involved in a
suspicious motorcycle accident, a government source said.

The source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity
that prosecutors visited the KAT trauma hospital and left with the
records of Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou.

Kenteris, the surprise 200-meter gold medalist in 2000, and
Thanou, who took silver in the 100 meters in Sydney, could not be
found at the Olympic Village for an Aug. 12 drug test. Hours later,
they said they were involved in a motorcycle accident that happened
because they were rushing back to the Olympic village to be tested.
They spent several days in the KAT hospital with cuts and bruises,
and later withdrew from the Olympics.

Now, prosecutors are investigating the motorcycle accident and
whether the two national stars were deliberately trying to avoid
drug tests. Kenteris and Thanou have denied any wrongdoing.

In another development, a man who said he witnessed the accident
was arrested Wednesday after police discovered he had an
outstanding warrant against him for an unrelated fraud conviction,
a police and court source told the AP.

At least two people, neither publicly identified, have told
police they witnessed the accident -- including one who said he
drove them to the hospital. All the witnesses talked to authorities
after the two athletes were released from the hospital.

As part of the probe, fraud inspectors with Greece's Finance
Ministry searched the offices of the sprinters' coach, Christos
Tsekos, for six hours Monday, seizing documents and computers from
his food supplements company in Athens.

Last week, inspectors from Greece's National Organization of
Medicines raided the offices and a warehouse, and confiscated some
items that they said contained small amounts of anabolic steroids.

Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said Wednesday that
the sports ministry gave prosecutors records indicating that a
number of companies, including one belonging to Tsekos, had
allegedly received unauthorized subsidies from Greece's former
Socialist government.

"The prosecutor will announce the results of his investigation
when it is over," Roussopolos said when asked about the alleged
subsidies, which he said were worth about $1.8 million.

Roussopoulos refused to say what the subsidies were for.

Two leading Greek newspapers, To Vima and Eleftherotypia, have
in recent days published reports that the former Socialist
government, which lost to the conservatives in March elections,
allegedly were approached by Tsekos with plans to help train
numerous Greek athletes for a fee.

Tsekos and his lawyer have not commented publicly on the reports
and calls to their offices by the AP were not immediately returned.
Senior officials in the former Socialist government also have
denied the claims.