EFI confirm stolen file concerned ABC Landliebe

THE Equestrian Federation of Ireland confirmed last night that a case file stolen from its offices related to Cian O’Connor’s horse ABC Landliebe, but not Waterford Crystal.

In a statement, the EFI said the file on Waterford Crystal was in the custody of gardaí.

In further developments, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) is set to break its silence on the Cian O’Connor saga this morning, while the remainder of the ‘B’ sample from Waterford Crystal will be tested in New York’s Reference lab in Ithaca and not the Hong Kong Jockey Club, as originally planned.

A FEI spokesperson said the organisation will make a statement this morning, after FEI secretary general Bo Helander had a phone conference with lawyers and the chairman of the FEI’s Judicial Committee.

Testing on the remainder of the ‘B’ sample is likely to get under way next Monday. Cian O’Connor’s witnessing analyst, Dr Laurent Bigler, will fly to America to observe the procedure.

Meanwhile, Cian O’Connor competed on the first day of the Leinster Indoor Horse Championships in Kill, Co Kildare, yesterday.

He is one of hundreds of competitors at the Leinster Championships taking place at Kill International Equestrian Centre, and rode his horse, Echo Beach, in a qualifier yesterday.

O’Connor has continually protested his innocence amid the doping controversy. “I’ll comment on all this when the facts are clear and on the table at the very end,” he said. “We don’t accept the findings of sample ‘A’ and that’s why we’ve asked for confirmatory analysis. It’s imperative that the sample is treated because it’s my only chance of proving my innocence.”

Meanwhile, EFI president Avril Doyle indicated that she had informed detectives of the identities of those she suspects may have been involved in some way in the break-in at the EFI’s offices.

Gardaí in Naas have been joined by officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) on the case. Police in Cambridgeshire are also continuing their probe. The stolen ‘B’ sample was traced to the laneway of the Horseracing Forensics Laboratory in Fordham, Cambridgeshire. It is understood a man in a lab coat signed for the package, but it never arrived at the HFL building.

A legal expert claimed yesterday O’Connor’s legal team could make a case against the FEI’s “ambiguous” testing regulations.

Prof Paul McCutcheon, head of the School of Law at the University of Limerick, said any legal wrangle would go to the Court of Arbitration in Sport, particularly if the only remaining sample left to test is blood.

“I’ve looked at the regulations and what it says is that, if a urine sample tests positive, then it goes to the ‘B’ sample. My belief is that would be interpreted to say that if the urine sample is the one that tests positive, then the second test is on the ‘B’ urine sample.”

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