French investigation 'widens to award of five IAAF World Championships'
French prosecutors are reported to have expanded their investigation into whether there was bribery in the award of the 2021 IAAF World Championships to include various other bidding processes for showpiece athletics events.
An inquiry centring on the attribution, without a vote, of the 2021 world championships to Eugene in Oregon, USA, is also taking in the contests for the editions granted to Moscow for 2013, Beijing for 2015, London for 2017 and Doha for 2019, according to a source quoted by Reuters on Friday.
The source added: “Six current or former members of the International Olympic Committee are suspected of receiving payments in exchange for their votes on sporting events.”
The individual said that “the investigation goes back to Stuttgart,” a reference to the now discontinued World Athletics Final held in the German city in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and that Lamine Diack, the former president of the IAAF, and his son Papa Massata Diack were “at the heart of the inquiry.”
There are presently multiple French probes into the award of sporting events around the world and last week former track and field star Frankie Fredericks stepped down as the chair of the evaluation commission for the 2024 Olympic Games and as head of the coordination commission for the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires after being linked to allegations of vote-buying in relation to Rio de Janeiro’s successful bid to host the 2016 Olympics.
Namibian Fredericks, an IOC member since 2007, also said he would not participate in the 13 September vote to decide whether Los Angeles or Paris will host the 2024 games.
However, Fredericks maintains that he is innocent of any wrongdoing, after he was cited in a report published by France’s Le Monde newspaper.
Papa Massata Diack, the controversial son of Lamine Diack, who has also been implicated in the allegations, claimed last week he was the victim of a “witch hunt.”
Diack told AFP that “Rio won fairly,” adding that he refuted “in the most virulent manner” the allegations against him made by Le Monde.
Diack was banned for life from athletics on corruption charges last year, while his father is in custody in France on charges of aggravated money laundering and corruption.
Diack Jr, who is under criminal investigation in France, but who remains in his native Senegal under protection from extradition, said: “They should come to Senegal to investigate and I can respond formally instead of organising leaks in the press.”