American sprinter Justin Gatlin has denied using performance-enhancing drugs after an undercover report by The Telegraph in London into alleged activities by Gatlin's representatives led to the opening of a doping investigation.
"I am not using and have not used PED's," Gatlin, the world champion in the 100 meters, wrote in a statement posted Tuesday to Instagram.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit for the International Association of Athletics Federations on Monday opened an investigation into Gatlin, his coach, Dennis Mitchell, and Robert Wagner, an agent who has worked for Gatlin.
"Investigations from tips and whistleblowers play a critical role in anti-doping efforts," a USADA spokesperson told The Telegraph. "We are presently coordinating with the Athletics Integrity Unit in order to investigate these claims fully."
Renaldo Nehemiah, Gatlin's agent, told the publication that Wagner had worked for Gatlin on only two or three occasions. Nehemiah also said Gatlin was not present for any discussions of banned substances by Wagner or Mitchell, who was fired Monday.
The story, published Monday, said undercover reporters met with Wagner and Mitchell in Florida under the guise of seeking performance-enhancing drugs for an actor working on a film about athletics. Wagner and Mitchell are said to have offered to help purchase the PEDs.
But in a statement given to Press Association Sport by a British-based public relations company, Wagner said the newspaper's story is "deeply flawed" because it is based on false comments he made up to impress people he thought were in the film business.
"It was just big talk -- I did not actually source or supply the substances the reporters asked for but stupidly claimed I could," the U.S.-based Austrian said. "I apologize to Mr Gatlin, his management and family for saying completely false things about him, and I apologize to other completely innocent athletes also wrongly implicated by my words."
Wagner added that he reported his meeting with the reporters to the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), the new anti-doping and corruption body set up by the sport's governing body the IAAF, a month ago and will assist the investigation it has started "in every way I can."
Gatlin, 35, previously served a four-year suspension for a 2006 positive test. He also served a one-year suspension while at the University of Tennessee for a stimulant said to be in his prescribed attention deficit disorder medication.
In July, Gatlin won the 100 meters at the world championships in London in what was former world champion Usain Bolt's last competitive race.
Press Association Sport contributed to this report.