Vienna - Two Austrian athletes will face fraud charges over the "Aderlass" doping scandal uncovered earlier this year, prosecutors in the city of Innsbruck said on Monday.
Cyclist Stefan Denifl and skier Max Hauke are suspected of "sports fraud" over their involvement in the affair, which has implicated numerous athletes in the world of skiing and cycling and beyond.
Denifl is accused of blood doping and taking growth hormones from 2014 until the end of his professional career in late 2018.
Prosecutors suspect that as much as €500 000 ($550 000) that Denifl received from sponsors was obtained under false pretences due to his doping activities. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Cross-country skier Hauke was seen in a video apparently caught carrying out a blood transfusion during a police raid in February.
He is suspected of having breached anti-doping rules since the 2015/16 competition season and could face up to five years in jail if found guilty.
Both Hauke and Denifl have already received four-year bans from their respective sports by the Austrian Anti-Doping Agency.
The Aderlass doping operation is alleged to have revolved around German doctor Mark Schmidt.
According to the public prosecutor in Munich, Schmidt is suspected of having facilitated blood doping for at least 21 athletes, of eight nationalities and across five different sports.
An athlete can benefit from blood doping by transfusing his own blood, treated to raise the red blood cell count that facilitates oxygen delivery in the body, thereby increasing power and stamina.