Prosecutors: Lamine Diack and son should face trial over doping and corruption scandal
Lamine Diack, the disgraced former president of the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, and his son, former marketing consultant to the federation Papa Massata Diack, should go on trial over allegations that they helped cover up doping by Russian athletes in exchange for cash, French prosecutors have said.
In an indictment handed to prosecutors earlier this week, the Diacks are accused of various illegal practices, including bribe-taking and money-laundering, with the active involvement of international athletes and their federations.
Lamine Diack, now aged 85, and who was IAAF president from 1999 to 2015, is accused of being prepared to accept funding for political campaigns in his native Senegal in return for lenient treatment by IAAF anti-doping officials of Russian athletes.
Diack senior, who is under house arrest in France, and his son, who is in Senegal, have denied wrongdoing. Senegal has refused extradition requests for Papa Massata Diack.
In the indictment, seen by Reuters, prosecutors wrote: “Under the leadership of its president and over the course of several years of wrongdoing, the IAAF managed to combine corruption with the encouragement of doping.
“[Lamine Diack’s] actions, which were in complete contradiction with his role, allowed doping athletes from one country to continue to compete and participate in the biggest world competitions in exchange for money.”
The indictment also accuses the IAAF of having adopted an “extremely complacent” attitude towards ARAF, the Russian athletics federation.
In March, arrest warrants were issued for Valentin Balakhnichev, the former president of ARAF, and ex-national team coach Alexei Melnikov, over the scandal.
The warrants were issued by the French financial prosecutor which has jurisdiction in Monaco, where the IAAF is based.
In 2017, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne rejected appeals by Balakhnichev, Melnikov and Papa Massata Diack against their lifetime bans from athletics, imposed after they were found guilty of suppressing anti-doping violations and of extortion of money from Lilya Shobukhova, the Russian marathon runner.
CAS said that the trio “remain banned for life from any involvement in the sport of athletics,” adding that the charges had been “established beyond reasonable doubt.”
ARAF, now known as RUSAF, was suspended by the IAAF in 2015 under the administration of Diack’s successor, Sebastian Coe, amid allegations of state-supported doping in the country, and almost its entire track and field team was excluded from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.