Athletics: Latest leaks detail IOC links

Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is being probed over allegedly accepting bribes to cover up positive drug tests and has resigned as an IOC honorary member. His son Papa Massata, meanwhile, has been banned for life by the IAAF over blackmailing ath
Former IAAF president Lamine Diack is being probed over allegedly accepting bribes to cover up positive drug tests and has resigned as an IOC honorary member. His son Papa Massata, meanwhile, has been banned for life by the IAAF over blackmailing athletes to cover up doping failures.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Ex-chief Diack's son denies claims he was in scheme to deliver packages to IOC members

LONDON • Papa Massata Diack, the son of the former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president, Lamine Diack, was apparently involved in a scheme to deliver "parcels" to influential members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), according to leaked e-mail messages seen by The Guardian.

The former IAAF marketing consultant was last week banned for life by the independent IAAF ethics committee over corruption and cover-up allegations linked to Russian doping.

In December 2014, The Guardian revealed that Papa Massata Diack had appeared to request almost US$5 million (S$7.2 million) from Qatar at a time when Doha was bidding for the 2017 world athletics championships and the 2016 Olympic Games.

Through the IAAF, Papa Massata Diack denied "ever acting in such a manner".

Another explosive e-mail seen by The Guardian now suggests that three years earlier, he had a cryptic exchange with a Qatari business executive in which he made repeated reference to a "special adviser", who IAAF sources suggested was likely to be his father Lamine.

"As you know the Special Adviser went to Beijing especially to see his friends in the exco and to make sure that all the verbal discussions he had with them and some through his consultants are fully guaranteed," he said in the e-mail.

LEAVE ME OUT OF IT

Our Special Adviser insisted that we do not compromise his credibility with his people and don't drag him into the negative attitudes created in Beijing.

PAPA MASSATA DIACK, in an e-mail to a Qatari businessman some time in 2008, likely referring to his father Lamine as the Special Adviser.

The e-mail goes on to suggest that six individuals, referred to only by their initials but corresponding with six members of the IOC at the time, had requested "to have their parcels delivered through Special Adviser in Monaco".

"Our Special Adviser insisted that we do not compromise his credibility with his people and don't drag him into the negative attitudes created in Beijing," it added.

Lamine Diack, 82, was arrested by French police in November over allegations that he had accepted "more than €1 million (S$1.5 million)" in order to cover up positive drug tests, along with the former IAAF legal adviser Habib Cisse and Gabriel Dolle, the former head of the IAAF's anti-doping unit.

French prosecutors said that Papa Massata Diack, who is believed to be in Senegal, would also be arrested if he set foot in the country.

The e-mail seen by The Guardian details the urgency of complying with the request, saying that one parcel was to be delivered personally by him in Lugano, Switzerland, and the rest by the special adviser.

It is apparently dated May 2008, when Qatar was in the midst of lobbying to host the 2016 Olympics. It was sent two months after an IAAF event in Beijing and shortly before a Super Grand Prix in Doha. That was during a period when Qatar was in the early stages of bidding for a huge array of sports events as part of an attempt to vault onto the world stage.

In November 2007, it had been awarded the 2010 world indoor championships and in June 2009 Doha would be one of the last cities added to the calendar for the nascent Diamond League, the IAAF competition that began in 2010 .

In June 2008, a month after the e-mail was sent, Doha was dropped from the list of contenders to host the 2016 Olympics at the shortlisting stage. Despite scoring more highly in the technical evaluation than the eventual winners Rio, Doha was dropped because it planned to hold the Games in October - much to the fury of bid leaders.

In November 2011, London was picked over Doha to host the 2017 world athletics championships but three years later, the Qatari capital did secure the rights to the 2019 edition.

The e-mail goes on to discuss a meeting apparently between the special adviser and a high-ranking Qatari official in the Negresco - a famous upmarket hotel in Nice - and a framework agreed under a contract with Pamodzi, Papa Massata Diack's sports marketing company.

The e-mail appears to have been forwarded by Papa Massata Diack to another Qatari official more than two years later - perhaps as a reminder or a prompt.

The apparent link to the IOC could prove damaging for an organisation regularly depicted as having reformed itself in the wake of the 1998 Salt Lake City scandal, in which the team bidding for the 2002 Winter Olympics was found to have paid bribes and inducements to IOC members on an industrial scale.

An IOC spokesman defended its track record and pointed to its independent ethics commission.

"The IOC has an independent ethics commission consisting of a majority of independent personalities coming from the highest levels of the juridical, political or business world. It has a track record of taking firm action based on evidence provided," said the spokesman.

"In the current IAAF case, the IOC took immediate action issuing a provisional suspension against the former IAAF president Lamine Diack immediately after the first evidence against him was provided to the IOC. Following this provisional suspension, the next day, Mr Lamine Diack resigned from his IOC Honorary Membership."

The IAAF declined to comment. Papa Massata Diack did not respond to requests for comment.

The Qatar Athletics Federation said it could not comment on the content of the e-mail without seeing them but again reiterated that its ambitious bidding spree for world sporting events was above board.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2016, with the headline 'LATEST LEAKS DETAIL IOC LINKS'. Print Edition | Subscribe