The former president of the IAAF, today World Athletics, his son and four other people were found guilty of hiding doping and appropriating funds from the international federation.
Senegalese Lamine Diack, former president of the International Athletics Federation between 1999 and 2015, was sentenced this Wednesday in Paris to four years in prison, two of them conditional, for being involved in a network of corruption, designed to hide cases of doping of athletes in Russia.
At age 87, Diack was found guilty of active and passive corruption and breach of trust and was also sentenced to a maximum fine of 500,000 euros ($ 590,000).
The influential former member of the Olympic circle, dressed in a white African robe, listened unfazedly to the verdict and he was released from the courtroom, leaving his lawyers to announce that they will appeal an “unfair and inhumane” decision.
The president of the 32nd correctional chamber, Rose-Marie Hunault, said that “given her age, she may aspire to a conditional release.” The World Athletics, former IAAF, celebrated a “strong and clear” decision.
Among the six defendants, all of them found guilty, the hardest penalty fell on his son Pope Massata Diack, who remains in Dakar and had refused to appear in the trial in June: his sentence is raised to five years in prison and a fine of one million euros ($ 1.18 million). The court upheld the arrest warrant against him.
On Lamine Diack, the penalty is equal to “the seriousness of the acts of corruption” that are attributed to him, Hunault launched, who reproaches him for “having seriously violated the fight against doping” and “violated the rules of the game of sports competition “.
Lamine and her 55-year-old son, who ran the IAAF’s own marketing, were tried for having made possible the delay, since the end of 2011, of disciplinary proceedings against Russian athletes accused of blood doping, including some champions at the Olympic Games in London 2012, before being stripped of their titles for doping.
In return for this indulgence, a bizarre plot revealed by Lamine Diack during the investigation and confirmed by the court: the renewal of the IAAF’s sponsorship and broadcasting contracts with the Russian state bank VTB and the public television RTR, as well as funds for finance the opposition to Abdoulaye Wade in the 2012 presidential elections in Senegal.
During the process, Lamine Diack, decorated by the Kremlin in 2011, he rejected any kind of political funding.
Other protagonists of the case also received prison sentences: 2 years conditional and 140,000 euros ($ 166,000) fine for the former IAAF anti-doping officer, Gabriel Dollé, and three years in prison (two conditional) and 100,000 euros (118,000 dollars) fine for the lawyer Habib Cissé, who advised Lamine Diack.
Two Russian officials, tried without being present, the former president of the National Athletics Federation Valentin Balakhnichev and the old coach Alexei Melnikov were respectively sentenced to three and two years of firm prison, with maintenance of the arrest warrant against him.
From Russia, Balakhnichev announced his intention to appeal the sentence. “They deprived me of my legal right to defend myself and said that I did not cooperate with the investigation, with which I categorically disagree,” he told Ria Novosti news agency.
The six convicts will have to pay 10.6 million euros (12.5 million dollars) in damages to the IAAF.
But Lamine Diack and her son were also convicted of having appropriated undue sums in IAAF contracts with sponsors. For that case they will have to pay 5.2 million euros (6.1 million dollars) to the IAAF.
The court finds that in the case of at least six Russian athletes, the disciplinary proceedings were delayed and athletes themselves had to pay to enjoy “full protection”.
The centerpiece of the indictment is a payment of 300,000 euros ($ 356,000) received by the marathoner. Lilya Shobukhova from an account linked to Papa Massata Diack, which would have been a refund when she was finally suspended in 2014.