Russian Sports Agent and U.S. Marathon Officials Under Federal Investigation

The Russian sports doping scandal has led United States law enforcement officials to an unlikely spot: Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Days before the New York City Marathon, as runners from around the world made their way to the city this week for one of the sport’s most prestigious races, federal officials were conducting a surveillance operation on a Russian sports agent who lives on West 104th Street in New York. Officials are scrutinizing the agent, Andrey Baranov, on suspicion of bribery and corruption, according to several people familiar with the case who requested anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

The investigators are looking into whether Mr. Baranov conspired with American marathon organizers — including New York City Marathon officials — to allow athletes using banned substances to compete in their events.

Mr. Baranov has not been charged with any crimes, and he has in the past been depicted as a whistle-blower who exposed cheating and corruption in track and field. It is not clear how far along the government is in its investigation.

Mr. Baranov, in an interview Thursday morning, emphatically denied any criminal activity. He said he had “absolutely not” entered doped athletes into United States competitions nor had he made inappropriate payments to race organizers. He said he had been unaware of the government’s investigation.

A spokesman for the New York City Marathon said that organizers had no knowledge of criminal activity within their operation and that no one in the organization had received a bribe from Mr. Baranov.

“If contacted, we will cooperate fully with the authorities,” the organization said in a statement Thursday.

The investigation is part of the Justice Department’s broader inquiry into doping schemes that have already led to penalties against scores of Russian athletes and officials. The federal inquiry, which escalated as this weekend’s race approached, with plainclothes agents monitoring Mr. Baranov’s prewar apartment building between Broadway and West End Avenue, includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.

The authorities are exploring possible racketeering and money-laundering offenses dating back several years and involving the organizers of marquee American track and field competitions.

The New York Times reported in May that the Justice Department had opened an investigation into state-sponsored doping by dozens of Russia’s top athletes, intending to scrutinize anyone who might have facilitated unclean competition in the United States or who might have used the United States banking system to enable a doping scheme. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former longtime head of Russia’s antidoping laboratory, had told The Times that the Russian government ran an elaborate program to help the country’s athletes use banned, performance-enhancing drugs and go undetected.

More than 100 Russian athletes were barred from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after the revelations, and employees of the Russian government were refused accreditation for the Games. Participants in earlier Olympics, too, have been affected, with about three dozen Eastern Europeans having been disciplined in recent months after retests of their urine samples from the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games.

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