A Paris court has sentenced Senegalese Lamine Diack, former president of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF, now World Athletics) on corruption charges linked to the Russian athletics doping scandal and embezzlement.
Diack, 87, was sentenced in total to four years in prison, but two of them are suspended, and the court did not order his arrest and because of his age he could be on immediate probation if a sentence that can still be maintained is maintained. be appealed
The French court also fined the former African leader, who was in charge of world athletics from 1999 to 2015, with 500,000 euros and disqualified him for life from any professional activity related to sport.
Arrested in France in 2015 following a request from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that alleged in a report that corruption was “embedded” in the IAAF under his tenure, with special mention for his unwillingness to investigate the scandal of doping that splashed into Russian sport after the revelations of the ‘McLaren report’.
In this sense, the court noted that Diack agreed to delay sanctions against Russian athletes in order to protect the finances of the body he directed and that he also sought funding from the Russian authorities for electoral campaigns in his native country, in 2012, in exchange to slow down sanctions procedures.
His son, Papa Massata Diack, was also tried on related charges and charged with corruption and complicity with his father’s criminal activities. The court sentenced him to five years in prison and a fine of one million euros, but for now he remains in Senegal, although he is wanted by Interpol.
The two Diacks were also convicted of financial crimes for commissions and bonuses that Papa Massata Diack received in connection with IAAF contracts, including sponsorship and broadcast deals.
Valentin Balakhnichev and Alexei Melnikov, two former leaders of Russian athletics, received sentences of three and two years in prison respectively, while Habib Cisse, who was Lamine Diack’s lawyer at the time of the accusations, and Gabriel Dollle, at the time responsible for the IAAF anti-doping and medical service, also received a one-year prison sentence, with another two suspended, and two years, respectively.
Finally, the court ordered the defendants to jointly pay World Athletics a total of 16 million euros in compensation for lost financial opportunities, as well as for moral damages, another 200,000 to WADA and a symbolic euro to the International Olympic Committee (IOC ).
WORLD ATHLETICS CELEBRATES THE OPINION
World Athletics thanked this ruling after “five long years” of waiting and for “the firm and clear decisions that have been made against the people involved and accused of these crimes.” “We want to assure everyone that the reforms passed by our Congress in 2016 will ensure that similar actions by individuals can never happen again in our sport,” he warned in a statement.
“We are grateful for the damages awarded by the Paris Criminal Court for a total of 16 million euros for embezzled funds and for the damage to reputation suffered as a direct consequence of these crimes and the resulting media coverage,” he added.
The body chaired by Sebastian Coe stressed that this financial corruption “impacted the economy of World Athletics” and had “a negative impact on its image and reputation in a profound and lasting way.” “We will do everything possible to recover the monies awarded and return them to the organization for the development of athletics worldwide,” he said.