Moments after his election to the UCI presidency, Brian Cookson directed members of the security/investigations firm Kroll, to seize computers from the governing body’s headquarters in Aigle.
According to sources, computers, back-up tapes and other IT equipment were taken as soon as the election results were relayed.
"They had to secure the computers," Cookson said. "They took all the back-up tapes and all the IT stuff. They were available to make sure that nothing was destroyed that shouldn’t be destroyed."
Kroll specializes in fraud, financial, bribery and other investigations with an expertise in computer forensics.
Cookson, however, did not believe that important evidence had been shredded: "I don’t like to think there was anything that serious, but we had to take the precaution," he said.
Cookson was elected on a campaign of reform and transparency – and his desire eliminate out corruption and conflicts of interest within the UCI. He has pledged to create an independent anti-doping agency for the sport, and is in favor of an independent review panel ("truth and reconciliation") to give former dopers and their enablers a chance to come clean.
There’s no specific indication of what is being investigated, but a file of evidence was turned over to the US Anti-Doping Agency prior to the election – alleging that former president Pat McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen had engaged in corrupt activities such as bribing team managers and covering up positive doping tests.
Cookson said earlier this month that he has been in high-level talks with WADA to investigate these and other charges.
Since taking office, Cookson has already replaced much of the UCI’s management, including appointing three new vice-presidents: Australian Tracey Gaudry, Egypt’s Mohamed Wagih Azzam and Frenchman David Lappartient. Even the UCI’s legal counsel, Philippe Verbiest and director general Christophe Hubschmid have gone.
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