French doctor accused of inciting doping and illegally practicing medicine faces two-year jail sentence

Prosecutors have also requested Bernard Sainz receives a €30,000 and a permanent ban from sport and health fields

Bernard Sainz
(Image credit: Getty)

Bernard Sainz, nicknamed 'Dr Mabuse', faces two years in prison and a fine of €30,000 for the illegal practice of medicine and for inciting doping, after prosecutors requested these terms on the final day of his trial in the Paris criminal court. 

Sainz is no longer eligible for a suspended sentence because he has already had two prior convictions related to violating anti-doping laws in both professional and amateur cycling. 

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He was handed a two-year prison sentence in 2014, with 20 months suspended, for inciting doping within cycling in the 1990s. He then received a 12-month suspended sentence in 2019 and a fine of €2,000 after amateur and semi-professional cyclists accused him of dictating protocols for growth hormones, testosterone and EPO between July 2008 and November 2010.

Prosecutors also requested that he receives a permanent professional ban from the health and sport fields.

The 78-year-old faces these charges in relation to 2016 programme Cash Investigation, a joint-project between France Télévision and the newspaper Le Monde. 

The programme captures the French doctor giving advice to riders on how to dope effectively through hidden cameras. Sainz reveals how he could prescribe a cyclist with vitamin D for the corticosteroid ‘diprosten’, or the therapeutic plant ‘chelidonium’, a powerful anabolic agent - both of which are prohibited. 

Ouest France (opens in new tab) report that the prosecution stated: "Mr. Sainz claims to have (given to athletes) only nutritional advice, particularly fasting. It is true, but he also gave advice and indications on doping protocols."

The prosecution added that Sainz is "dangerous for society," after claiming that he wouldn't hesitate to advise "vulnerable people" to stop treatments recommended by their doctor.

Sainz's defence argued "everything is based on hearsay," stating that he only ever asked cyclists to "respect an extremely strict lifestyle."

The case also involved former cyclist Loïc Herbreteau, who prosecutors requested a nine-month prison sentence and €5,000 fine for putting athletes in touch with Sainz, and former actor Pierre-Marie Carlier, who faces a six-month suspended sentence and €8,000 fine for placing his son and amateur cyclist Alexis in contact with Sainz.

A final decision will follow on January 17, 2022.

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Ryan Dabbs

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.