The provisional finding of the Ethics Commission is as follows:

Respondents 1 – 15 are all guilty of a breach of art. 2.2.11 of the FIDE Code of Ethics for making reckless and unjustified accusations of cheating against WGM Mihaela Sandu, thereby injuring and discrediting her reputation as a honest chess player.

The Ethics Commission intends to impose the following sanctions:

Respondent no. 1:

Ms Natalia Zhukova

A three (3) month ban from playing chess in any tournament. The sanction is wholly suspended for a period of one (1) year, on the condition that she is not found guilty of making reckless or unjustified accusations of cheating against any other chess player during the period of suspension.

Respondents no. 2 – 10:

Ms Alisa Galliamova
Ms Lanita Stetsko
Ms Anastasia Bodnaruk
Ms Dina Belenkaya
Ms Jovana Rapport (néé Vojinova)
Ms Svetlana Matveeva
Ms Marina Guseva
Ms Anna Tskhadadze
Ms Tatiana Ivanova

A reprimand (severe expression of disapproval and warning of consequences if conduct is repeated).

Respondents no. 11 – 15:

Ms Natassia Ziaziulkina
Ms Anastasia Savina
Ms Evgenija Ovod
Ms Melia Salome
Ms Ekaterina Kovalevskaya

A warning (caution to avoid a repeat of the same conduct).

The making of reckless and unjustified accusations of cheating is a serious offence which will normally attract severe punishment. In the present case the proposed sanctions were mitigated, amongst other things, by the inappropriate handling of the situation by the officials as well as the long time delay (relating to the formal establishment of the ACC) since the happening of the incident.

The differentiation between the sanctions proposed for the three groups of players is justified by the fact that Respondent no. 1 played a leading role in obtaining the signatures of the other players, Respondents no. 2 – 10 did not show remorse for their actions by withdrawing their signatures or giving an apology, whereas Respondents no. 11 – 15 did show the necessary remorse by withdrawing their signatures or apologizing for their conduct.

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