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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 10:39 GMT
Stallone charged over growth drug
Sylvester Stallone (archive picture)
Stallone found fame through his Rocky and Rambo films
Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone has been charged with importing a banned human growth hormone into Australia.

The actor, 60, was stopped at Sydney airport last month by customs officials who claim he had 48 vials of a banned substance in his luggage.

Stallone, who was in Australia to promote recent film Rocky Balboa, faces a possible fine of A$22,000 (8,930).

The muscle-building hormone product, Jintropin, is classed as a performance enhancing drug in Australia.

Such products cannot be imported into Australia without a special permit.

Prosecution documents handed to a Sydney court on Tuesday said Stallone had marked "no" on a customs declaration form that asked if he was bringing restricted substances into the country.

Bottles of Human Growth Hormone
Made in the pituitary gland
Stimulates growth in children
Regulates metabolism in adults
Medical uses include reversing muscle wastage in Aids patients
Has been promoted as an anti-ageing treatment
Jintropin is a synthetic version of the hormone

But an X-ray of bags belonging to his entourage uncovered the bottles of Jintropin, which is made by Chinese firm GeneScience pharmaceuticals.

"You have not been validly prescribed the goods by a medical practitioner for any medical condition suffered by you and for which the goods are recognised medical treatment," Stallone was told in a customs document submitted to the court.

Stallone and his team were held at Sydney airport for several hours following the discovery.

The maximum penalty for the offence is A$110,000 (44,639) and a five-year prison sentence - Stallone faces a lesser fine because the case is being prosecuted in a local court.

The actor was not present to hear the charge against him at Tuesday's hearing.

He is thought to be in Thailand, where he is making his fourth Rambo film.

At the time, Stallone dismissed the incident as a "misunderstanding", adding that customs officials were "just doing their jobs".

"I just didn't understand some of the rules here," he explained.

Stallone talks to the press after arriving in Australia

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