Coe aide sacked over secret IAAF payment

Nick Davies, who served as IAAF deputy general secretary under Sebastian Coe, was banned last year over allegations that he accepted money to delay identifying Russian drug cheats. The world body then sacked him on Tuesday.
Nick Davies, who served as IAAF deputy general secretary under Sebastian Coe, was banned last year over allegations that he accepted money to delay identifying Russian drug cheats. The world body then sacked him on Tuesday.

Briton expelled for failing to disclose money trail, as well as for misleading investigators

LONDON • Nick Davies, one of IAAF president Sebastian Coe's closest aides, was expelled from the world athletics governing body on Tuesday for concealing a €30,000 (S$45,000) payment from disgraced former head Lamine Diack, linked to the Russian doping scandal.

An International Association of Athletics Federations ethics board found that the influential former deputy general secretary had lied to the inquiry over the funds.

Davies' wife and IAAF project manager Jane Boulter-Davies and medical manager Pierre-Yves Garnier were both allowed to resume working for the world body, the former on a six-month probation period, after serving suspensions of six and three months respectively. Each was ordered to pay £2,500 (S$4,450) in costs.

But the three-member ethics board, which includes Singaporean lawyer Annabel Pennefather, ruled that Davies, named by Coe as his chief of staff when he took over in August 2015, was "expelled from his position with the IAAF with immediate effect" and ordered to pay €5,000 in costs.

His downfall was "accepting a concealed remuneration" through Diack's son Papa Massata Diack, lying about it to the ethics board and failing to disclose it to French judicial authorities and the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

He received €30,000 - €5,000 paid into his joint bank account with Boulter-Davies, while €25,000 went into his own account, without his wife's knowledge.

"Mr Davies has admitted misleading the investigation," said an ethics board report. "That is an extremely serious matter. It is all the more serious for the fact that Mr Davies only admitted his lie when his hand was forced upon requests for his bank statements."

Davies, the board said, "has admitted a serious error of judgment and has reflected upon and sincerely apologised for that error".

He will be free to seek employment elsewhere in athletics and to be involved in IAAF-organised competitions. He can also still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The ethics board ruling came on the same day that Coe again faced allegations he knew of corruption claims concerning the Russian doping scandal four months before they became public.

Coe told a House of Commons committee in December 2015 he was "not aware" of specific allegations of corruption in Russian athletics until a German documentary in December 2014. But in an August 2014 e-mail to the IAAF ethics commission published on Tuesday, Coe stated: "I have now been made aware of the allegations."

He has denied that he misled the parliamentary committee investigating doping in sport when he appeared before it in December 2015.

The fight against doping continued yesterday, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctioning three athletes for failing anti-doping tests.

Russian and Turkish athletes have been retrospectively disqualified from the 2012 Olympics.

Runner Antonina Kriovshapka, who won a silver medal as part of the Russian 4x400m relay team, was disqualified after a positive test for the banned substance turinabol.

Turkish boxer Adem Kilicci and Russian discus thrower Vera Ganeeva were also sanctioned after the same substance was found.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2017, with the headline 'Coe aide sacked over secret IAAF payment'. Print Edition | Subscribe