IAAF staff suspended, facing payoff allegations

MARSEILLE • Nick Davies, former chief of staff of the IAAF president Sebastian Coe, has been suspended for 180 days after allegations that he took money to cover up Russian doping cases.

Michael Beloff, the IAAF's ethics board chairman, has suspended Davies, along with his wife, Jane Boulter-Davies, who worked in the organisation's anti-doping education department, and the IAAF medical manager Pierre-Yves Garnier.

The issue relates to an e-mail sent by Papa Massata Diack, the former IAAF consultant, to his father Lamine Diack, the IAAF president at the time, in July 2013 apparently saying that the three staff members were in receipt of or had knowledge of a cash payment to withhold details of attempted cover-ups of Russian doping cases.

The ethics board has published details of the "prima facie" cases against the trio.

Davies is alleged to have received cash from Diack Jr and to have misled an IAAF ethics board investigator about the payment.

The case against his wife is that she either received cash or was aware of her husband having done so and misled the investigation.

Garnier is alleged to have received money in 2013 at Diack Sr's direction.

The investigation was launched in December after Le Monde, the French newspaper, published an e-mail from Diack Jr to his father, of which the IAAF ethics board has published a translated version.

The e-mail said that Valentin Balakhnichev, the head of the Russian athletics federation, had asked Diack Jr "to become internally involved with the IAAF staff who had been antagonistic towards him" and described how "lobbying activities were carried out and efforts at providing explanations were made with C. Thiare (50K), Nick Davies (UK press lobbying 30K, and to assuage Jane Boulter), G. Dolle (50K) et PY Garnier (Champagnole assistance 10K, managed by Cheikh)."

Le Monde reported that Diack Sr explained the e-mail in a police interview, saying: "K means kilo and the currency is in dollars or in euros" and that "Papa Massata Diack (his son, Diack Jr) gave money to various people to keep them quiet".

Davies, who denies any wrongdoing, stood down six months ago pending the investigation. Neither Davies, his wife nor Garnier were available for comment.

Other messages leaked in December showed that Davies discussed with Diack Jr developing a media strategy to limit the impact of positive tests by Russian athletes before the 2013 world championships.

The IAAF ethics board said the provisional suspensions should not be taken to prejudge the investigations that will be carried out by Anthony Hooper, former judge of the Court of Appeal for England and Wales.

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 12, 2016, with the headline 'IAAF staff suspended, facing payoff allegations'. Print Edition | Subscribe