CAEN, France, Sept 5, (AFP): Former cycling medical advisor Bernard Sainz, alias Dr Mabuse, 74, was sentenced to nine months in prison on Tuesday for inciting amateur riders to cheat with drugs. Deputy prosecutor Josephine Lecardeur said eight witnesses had implicated Sainz as being the kingpin in a doping network. Lecardeur had asked for a six-month prison term and 20,000-euro ($22,600) fine. The court in the northern port city of Caen opted to increase the jail time. “This court is a put-up job. It is as if they wanted to prevent alternative medicine therapists from having a sports clientele,” Sainz told France Bleu radio, adding he would appeal the sentence.
Sainz — known as ‘Dr Mabuse’ after the 1922 film depicting a fake doctor — was sentenced to two years in prison in 2014, with 20 months suspended, for inciting doping and illegally working as a doctor. He was initially convicted on charges of incitement to doping and illegally practicing medicine during and after the 1998 Festina affair at the Tour de France during which police found a stash of performance-enhancing drugs in a team car, throwing the sport into turmoil.
In 2013, he was also fined 3,000 euros for horse doping. “I have this diabolical caricature of godfather, but what is concrete? Nothing,” Sainz, who has no bank account in his name, insisted before the court in July. But Caen presiding judge Christophe Subts found otherwise, noting that Sainz owned a country house, employed service staff and enjoyed a lifestyle well beyond what a 700-euro a-month pension could afford him.