GENEVA (AP) — The international swimming federation says its executive director has been ordered to testify as a witness in a U.S. criminal investigation into the case of 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for a banned substance in 2021 yet were allowed to continue competing.

The news comes just three weeks before the Paris Olympics where 11 of the Chinese swimmers who tested positive for the banned heart medication three years ago are set to compete.

A House Committee on China asked the Justice Department and the FBI on May 21 to investigate the case under a federal law that allows investigations into suspected doping conspiracies even if they occurred outside the U.S.

Swimming’s world governing body, World Aquatics, told The Associated Press on Thursday that its top administrator, Brent Nowicki, was subpoenaed to testify in the investigation.

“World Aquatics can confirm that its executive director, Brent Nowicki, was served with a witness subpoena by the United States government,” World Aquatics said in a statement to The Associated Press. “He is working to schedule a meeting with the government, which, in all likelihood will obviate the need for testimony before a Grand Jury.”

World Aquatics declined to answer questions about where and when Nowicki was served his subpoena and didn’t say which office was handling the investigation. The FBI didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

The swimmers in question were allowed to compete at the previous Olympics in Tokyo despite testing positive for a banned heart medication just months before those games. Chinese officials blamed food contamination and the World Anti-Doping Agency accepted that explanation and has since defended its handling of the case.

The positive tests were not publicly known until the New York Times and German broadcaster ARD first reported on the case earlier this year.

___ Pells reported from Denver, Colorado.

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AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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