Athletics: Son of disgraced ex-IAAF chief questioned by Senegal police

Disgraced ex-IAAF president Lamine Diack, whose son was questioned for several hours in Senegal.
Disgraced ex-IAAF president Lamine Diack, whose son was questioned for several hours in Senegal.PHOTO: REUTERS

DAKAR (AFP) - Disgraced ex-IAAF president Lamine Diack's son was questioned for several hours by police in his native Senegal, local media reported on Thursday, as France seeks to arrest the former consultant on corruption charges.

Papa Massata Diack stands accused of blackmailing athletes who failed drug tests while a marketing adviser to the IAAF, and has already been banned for life by the world athletics body.

Diack junior was interviewed by police on Wednesday afternoon in the capital of Dakar in connection with his IAAF activities, according to Senegalese press, and released just before midnight.

Interpol last month issued an international alert for Papa Massata Diack after France issued its own arrest warrant.

Diack will "go back to police for a second reading of his testimony which will then be sent to French investigators via Interpol", the Populaire newspaper said, without providing a date.

AFP was unable to reach his legal team on Thursday.

Papa Massata Diack has said he is ready to face justice over the charges, but only in a Senegalese court.

"I am a Senegalese citizen, not a French citizen," he said in a rare interview to private radio in late December.

Senegal said last week it would not agree to extradite its own nationals to France.

Papa Massata Diack's 82-year-old father Lamine is a former mayor of Dakar and national assembly member who became the first non-European elected as head of world athletics in 1999 until he was replaced by Sebastien Coe last year.

Lamine Diack faces his own criminal charges in France over allegations that he took more than €1 million (S$1.5 million) in bribes from Russian athletes and officials to cover up failed drug tests.

Papa Massata Diack is one of Lamine's 15 children, and quit his IAAF post in December 2014.

The world athletics body's ethics commission on Jan 7 found that Diack junior, former Russia athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichev and former Russian walking coach Alexei Melnikov "conspired to extort what were in substance bribes by acts of blackmail".

The trio are appealing the bans.