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Italian sports agent held in Kenya for questioning

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Italian sports agent Federico Rosa is being questioned by Kenyan police over the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes his company managed, court documents showed on Wednesday.

Kenya, renowned for its distance runners, has faced frequent allegations of doping, with some 40 cases reported in the past four years.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last month that competitors from Russia and Kenya, given the recent history of doping in both countries, would have to be screened individually before being allowed to participate in the Rio Games next month.

Rosa, who runs Italy-based Rosa & Associati, "conspired to cause injury by doping, to the reputation and profession of athletes," according to a police request submitted to court to extend Rosa's detention for questioning.

The affidavit, signed by Police Chief Inspector Joseph Indeke and presented to the Nairobi Chief Magistrate's Court, also accused Rosa of "preventing some of them from their lawful exercise of their profession" due to doping.

"The respondent in furtherance of unlawful purpose, resulted in the ban of some athletes from participating in international competitions and others even becoming incapacitated," the affidavit said.

Rosa has not been charged and he was not required to enter a plea by Chief Magistrate Bernard Ochoi, who approved Rosa's continued detention. Rosa is due to return to court on Friday.

In court, Rosa's lawyer objected to his client's continued detention. Neither Rosa nor his lawyer could immediately be contacted for further comment.

The affidavit did not name any athletes. Those who have been managed by Rosa & Associati include former Boston City Marathon and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo, who failed an out-of-competition test for the banned blood-booster EPO.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed an anti-doping amendment bill into law after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said Kenyan legislation passed in April needed further changes if it was to comply with WADA's code.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa, Humphrey Malalo and Isaack Omulo; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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