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Conte's Lawyers Respond

October 23, 2003

Victor Conte is the central figure in a federal grand jury probe into the practices of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), a Burlingame, Calif., company that specializes in nutritional supplements that promise to boost athletic performance. Conte is president of BALCO.

The company is reportedly being investigated on suspicion of violating federal tax and money-laundering laws. BALCO is also central to what Olympic anti-doping officials have described as the biggest steroid bust in U.S. and Olympic sports.

Although he has e-mailed reporters from The Times and other media outlets, Conte has declined to comment in recent days as scrutiny of his company has increased.

His attorneys, Robert Holley and Troy Ellerman, released a statement Tuesday asserting Conte's innocence.

Some excerpts:

"Unfortunately, the speculation about what may or [may] not be contained in a possible indictment appears to be fueled by leaks of information, the source of which is unknown by the defense. Much of what is contained in recent media revelations is totally misguided and untrue and appears to be premised upon information, or misinformation, from sources unknown to the defense whose reliability is yet to be tested....

"Mr. Conte is a scientist and businessman who has dedicated his life to helping others, including high-profile athletes. His company, SNAC System, markets a nutritional product developed by Mr. Conte known as ZMA, distributed by more than 50 distributors worldwide.

"ZMA is a contamination-free raw material manufactured utilizing the highest degree of quality control and assurance. Mr. Conte wishes to assure his consumers that such product will continue to be manufactured and made available to the hundreds of thousands of ZMA users....

"Information flowing from a criminal investigation necessarily takes time to digest and consider. Please remember, the defense has not yet begun to fight."

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