Lamine Diack: Former IAAF head found guilty of corruption and jailed


Lamine Diack’s lawyers said they will appeal against the verdict

Lamine Diack, the ex-head of athletics’ governing body, has been jailed after being found guilty of corruption.

The Senegalese, 87, faced corruption and money-laundering charges linked to the Russian doping scandal.

Diack was convicted of accepting bribes from athletes suspected of doping to cover up test results and letting them continue competing, including in the 2012 London Olympics.

He was sentenced to four years in prison, two of them suspended.

Diack’s lawyers said he would be appealing against the judgement, which they called “unfair and inhumane”.

Diack, who was also given a maximum fine of 500,000 euros (£456,928), was investigated by French authorities for four years over claims he took payments of more than 3m euros to cover up cheating.

The judge said his actions had “undermined the values of athletics and the fight against doping”.

Diack has been under house arrest in Paris since November 2015.

Previously one of the most influential figures in world sport, Diack was president of the International Association of Athletics’ Federations – now World Athletics – for 16 years until he was replaced by Britain’s Lord Coe in August 2015.

Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack – who was banned for life from athletics in 2016 – was sentenced to five years in prison and a given a 1m euros fine (£913,850).

After the ruling, World Athletics released a statement in which it said it was “disappointed this happened in our sport” but “grateful for the strong and clear decisions that have been taken against the individuals involved”.

Athletics’ governing body added that it would like to “reassure everyone that the reforms our congress approved in 2016 will ensure that similar actions by individuals can never happen again in our sport”.

“We are grateful for the damages awarded by the Paris Criminal Court totalling 16m euros for embezzled funds and for reputational damage suffered as a direct consequence of these crimes and the resulting media coverage,” it added.

“As the court acknowledged, this damage has impacted World Athletics’ finances and had a negative impact on World Athletics’ image and reputation in a deep and lasting way. We will do everything we can to recover the monies awarded, and return them to the organisation for the development of athletics globally.”



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Former athletics chief Lamine Diack goes on trial


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The trial, beginning Monday, had been due to start in January but was postponed after new documents containing testimony from his son and co-defendant, Papa Massata Diack, were submitted to the court. Senegal has refused to extradite Papa Massata, who worked as a marketing consultant for the IAAF. He also faces charges of money laundering, corruption and breach of trust, according to the indictment, and will be tried in absentia.

The other defendants are Habib Cisse, Diack’s former lawyer at the IAAF; Gabriel Dolle, who oversaw doping tests at the IAAF; and Russians Valentin Balakhnitchev and Alexei Melnikov, who were Russia’s athletics’ federation chief and head athletics coach, respectively, at the time of the alleged cover-up.

Investigators at the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) describe a web of corruption in world athletics under Diack’s leadership.

In a separate case, French prosecutors are investigating alleged bribes related to the Olympics and World Athletics Championships. They suspect Tokyo’s bidding committee bribed the Diacks in 2013 to secure votes, which the committee has denied.

Sebastian Coe, Diack’s successor, has undertaken to rebuild trust in athletics and has introduced changes to the sport’s governance.

Reuters



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