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Judge clears track-and-field star Domínguez of doping supply guilt

Athlete may be in the clear after telephone records excluded from evidence

The judge overseeing Operation Greyhound has excluded taped telephone conversations made by Spanish athlete Marta Domínguez as part of the wide-ranging anti-doping investigation.

The decision comes less than a month after the High Court effectively dropped its case against Domínguez for allegedly trafficking performance-enhancing substances. The 2009 3,000m steeplechase world champion was detained in December as part of the Civil Guard's Greyhound investigation. The alleged doping crime pertained to trafficking performance-enhancing substances, not using them. Taking these substances is not punishable under Spanish legislation.

Domínguez still faces charges of tax irregularities, and may be pursued for allegedly having administered a drug to a colleague.

This last issue is "under judicial investigation," and "it is not classified" yet as an alleged crime because it is unknown whether the drug was a performance-enhancing one, a court spokesman said. Domínguez has repeatedly denied the allegations against her, although in an interview published in January she said she had recommended an "authorized" treatment to an athlete friend who was injured.

The Spanish athlete explained during the interview that she had "accompanied" a friend who received treatment involving the administration of the substance Fortecortin by means of electrodes, and that her assistance was limited to helping her friend "adjust the bandages" of the electrodes. Domínguez was detained for several hours on December 9, 2010 along with 13 suspects, including athletes, doctors and coaches, during Operation Greyhound. The police also seized a considerable number of products used for doping.

Six people involved in the operation - including Domínguez's coach, César Pérez - were charged with "crimes against public health" and "drug trafficking." Among the six is Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor who was implicated in a previous anti-doping operation in Spain known as Operation Puerto.

Doping charges have since been dropped against José Alonso Valero, a former athlete who is currently Domínguez's manager.

Domínguez, 35, was suspended from her position as vice president of the Spanish Athletics Federation in December. The suspension remains in effect until the full investigation is concluded. While she is not competing at the World Championships this year because she is pregnant, Domínguez hopes to return to competition in time for the London 2012 Olympics.

The High Court said that it will include the taped conversations with Pérez, which point to "illegal activities."

The High Court has separated Greyhound into four cases: the individual charges against Marta Domínguez, César Pérez and Alberto García, plus a fourth which is comprised of collective proceedings against the ringleaders of the suspected trade of illegal substances.