January date set for first IAAF corruption trial

IAAF logo (Getty Images)
IAAF logo (Getty Images)

Paris - The Paris courts said on Monday they planned to start the trial of former boss of world athletics (IAAF), Lamine Diack, and his son Papa Massata Diack for corruption from January 13.

Lamine Diack, head of the IAAF between 1999 and 2015, is charged with "giving and receiving bribes", "breach of trust" and "organised money laundering".

Papa Massata Diack, who handled valuable marketing rights for the IAAF, is accused of playing a "central role" in the network of corruption and is charged with "money laundering", "giving bribes" and "aiding the receiving of bribes".

The Diacks are suspected of being at the heart of a web of corruption.

The investigations by the French Financial Prosecutor's Office in 2018 include allegations that Lamine Diack obtained Russian funds for political campaigns in Senegal, in exchange for the IAAF's anti-doping arm covering up Russian offences.

The deal also facilitated negotiations with Russian sponsors and broadcasters before the World Athletics Championships in Moscow in 2013.

The case is being pursued by the French authorities because the alleged money-laundering happened in France.

A separate investigation is continuing in France over the award of the World Championships to London in 2015 and to Qatar in 2019 and over the sale of broadcasting rights.

Lamine Diack has been forbidden to leave France since the investigation began. Papa Massata Diack has been holed up in Dakar in Senegal, away from the reach of the French authorities.

There are four other defendants.

Habib Cisse, Lamine Diack's former legal advisor, is suspected of having acted as an intermediary between the IAAF and Russian athletics. The former IAAF anti-doping chief Gabriel Dolle is accused of "receiving bribes". Both are French.

Valentin Balakhnichev, a former head of the Russian athletics federations and IAAF treasurer, is accused of "giving and receiving bribes" and "aggravated money-laundering". Alexei Melnikov, formerly Russia's chief distance running coach, is accused of "receiving bribes."

Both are subjects of international arrest warrants.

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