– A convicted drug trafficker who calls himself Dr Ageless supplied the Essendon Football Club with potentially illegal substances.
Biochemist Shane Charter is alleged to have provided sports scientists associated with the club with supplements sourced from Asia.
It is understood Essendon’s former performance scientist, Stephen Dank, worked closely with Mr Charter to provide players with supplements.
Essendon may have paid up to $30,000 for the supplements. Mr Dank is believed to have been sacked after the club discovered irregularities in invoicing from his department.
A former champion weightlifter, Mr Charter has advised some of the AFL’s best players and other sports stars on nutrition and supplements to boost performance.
Mr Charter was arrested by Victoria Police Drug Squad detectives in 2004 and found in possession of 100,000 psuedoephedrine-based tablets – a pre-cursor chemical used to make speed – in bottles labelled as vitamin B supplements.
He pleaded guilty and received a reduced prison sentence after striking a deal with crown prosecutors to give evidence against his co-accused, who was later cleared.
Me Charter declined to comment yesterday. However, a supporter of Mr Charter confirmed his association with Essendon and said he had provided the club with vitamins.
The supporter also said Mr Charter had written to the Therapeutic Goods Administration last year seeking clarification over certain types of peptides.
But another source yesterday said Mr Charter, who is the director of Dr Ageless Pty Ltd, had imported from China peptides that were on Australia’s prohibited import list.
Sources in the supplement and bodybuilding industry said it was well known that Mr Charter operated on the cusp of the law and promoted the use of peptides to some of his clients.
Mr Charter works as a consultant at the Ageing Australia Clinic in Melbourne and is described on the company’s website as the originator of its business model.
Ageing Australia’s website promotes the use of testosterone and human growth hormone. The website features a photograph of a model injecting a needle into her stomach.
The clinic’s owner, Laurie Williams, on Wednesday night said his clinic had nothing to do with Essendon and that Mr Charter would be sacked before the morning. Ageing Australia’s website was shut down last night. Mr Charter is believed to have established contact with the club via a friendship with an Essendon fitness adviser and former AFL players.
Mr Charter previously advised top sportsmen on their fitness, including Olympic swimmer Scott Miller and former Brownlow medal winners Shane Woewodin and Ben Cousins. Fairfax Media is not suggesting any of his former clients ever acted improperly.
A source aware of Mr Charter and Mr Dank’s activities with Essendon said Steve Dank made them (supplements) and Charter was importing them.
Mr Dank has not returned calls or texts from Fairfax Media.
Essendon’s suspended fitness boss, Dean Robinson, has engaged a lawyer from the AFL Coaches Association to deal with his latest controversy, having sought legal advice last year when he was on the verge of being sacked by the Bombers. Robinson has refused to comment.
Dr Robin Willcourt, who runs the Epigenx Integrated Medicine practice at South Yarra’s Como Centre, revealed that Dank had met him last year when Dank was very concerned about the low testosterone and growth hormone levels of his players.
One of the alleged supplements given to players was bovine colostrum, containing a growth factor called IGF-1, which is on the banned substances list of the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency.
While coach James Hird put his players through their training drills on Wednesday and remained positive, Tim Watson, an Essendon great, feared his son, current captain Jobe, would be stripped of his Brownlow medal should the Bombers be found guilty. Retired player Mark McVeigh angrily denied comments by former teammate Kyle Reimers that players signed a waiver last year, allowing the club to administer supplements.
McVeigh said Reimers was disgruntled about not being retained. McVeigh also revealed he had only been given vitamin B and C injections in a sterile environment, believed to be in a house close to Windy Hill, with a registered nurse present – Richard Baker, Nick McKenzie & Cameron Houston