10/18/2013 03:00 EDT | Updated 12/18/2013 05:12 EST

3 former top Finnish cross-country skiers sentenced for lying in doping case

HELSINKI - A court in Finland has given suspended prison sentences to three former top skiers for lying during an investigation into doping in Finnish cross-country skiing in the 1990s.

The Helsinki District Court on Friday gave skiers Janne Immonen, Jari Isometsa and Harri Kirvesniemi six-month sentences for not telling the truth about the use of banned substances.

Police opened an investigation into doping claims in 2008 after a TV report, backed by former ski coach Kari-Pekka Kyro, claimed that the Finnish Ski Association had covered up the systematic use of banned substances by skiers in the 1990s.

In 2001, the three men were among six Finnish cross-country skiers who tested positive for banned substances at the world championships, forfeiting four medals, including the men's team gold in the 4x10-kilometre relay.