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Key Figure in US Steriod Probe Charged with Hindering Investigation


Trevor Graham, who has coached some of the world's fastest athletics stars, has been charged with hindering the U.S. government's steroids probe.

Graham was formally charged Thursday with three counts of making false statements to federal agents in an indictment issued by the grand jury investigating performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports. He has been at the center of the federal investigation since it began three years ago.

If convicted of all three counts, Graham faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Several of Graham's athletes, including 100-meter co-world record holder Justin Gatlin, have tested positive for banned substances.

The coach has been under investigation for allegedly lying to investigators looking into doping among elite athletes connected to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in San Francisco, California. The BALCO supplement company served as a front for an alleged steroids ring.

In August, the U.S. Olympic Committee banned Graham from its training centers, because many of his athletes have been suspended for doping offenses.

Graham also coached sprinter Marion Jones, who won five medals at the 2000 Sydney Games with him. He also coached her former boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, who was suspended from competition for two years despite never testing positive for a banned substance.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.