Former IAAF president Lamine Diack jailed for taking bribes to cover up Russian doping
18 Sep 2020

The former president of international athletics has been jailed for two years by a French court after being found guilty of taking millions of pounds in bribes to cover up positive drugs tests by Russian athletes.

Lamine Diack, 87, who ran athletics for 16 years until he was succeeded by Lord Coe in 2015, solicited bribes totalling €3.45 million (£3.15 million) from athletes suspected of taking banned drugs, prosecutors had told the court in Paris.

His son, Papa Massata Diack, who refused to leave Senegal to stand trial, was sentenced to five years in prison in his absence after the court heard he had creamed off more than £11.5 million from the IAAF — since rebranded as World Athletics — through various illegal schemes during his work for the organisation as a marketing consultant.

The IAAF’s former anti-doping chief, Gabriel Dollé, was jailed for two years for his part in the cover-up scheme. Two Russian officials who were tried in their absence, the former president of the national athletics federation Valentin Balakhnichev and the former coach Alexei Melnikov, were also found guilty.

The judge, Rose-Marie Hunault, detailed Diack Sr’s role in the Russian doping scheme, dubbed “full protection”, that squeezed Russian athletes suspected of doping of about €3.2 million in hush money. “The money was paid in exchange for a programme of ‘full protection,’ ” she said, adding that the scheme allowed athletes who should have been suspended “purely and simply to escape sanctions.”

The cover-up or delaying of sanctions for offences by 23 Russians allowed them to compete in the London 2012 Olympics and the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

Diack was jailed for four years, with two years suspended, and fined €500,000. He has been under house arrest since November 2015. Hunault said he was unlikely to spend any time in prison. “Given your age you can expect conditional release,” she said.

Diack was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust but acquitted of a money laundering charge. His lawyers said he would lodge an appeal immediately.

By Martyn Ziegler, The Times, 17 September 2020

Read more at The Times

Photo (cropped and edited): BY 4.0

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