Diack and son among six to stand trial for corruption

PARIS • Lamine Diack, the disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president, has been ordered to stand trial on charges of corruption and money laundering.

It follows a four-year investigation in France into doping cover-ups, extortion and bribe-taking in athletics.

The 86-year-old Senegalese, who led the sport's governing body from 1999-2015 and was one of the most influential men in athletics, is accused of being part of a conspiracy to bury positive drug tests by Russian athletes in return for money.

This conspiracy also involved Valentin Balakhnichev, the former Russian athletics boss and IAAF treasurer, former Russia national middle distance coach Alexei Melnikov, Diack's former aide Habib Cisse and the IAAF's former head of anti-doping, Gabriel Dolle.

The quartet will also face trial on the same charges, along with Diack's son, Papa Massata Diack, the disgraced former IAAF marketing executive who was banned for life from athletics in 2016.

According to French prosecutors, Diack and his son, who oversaw Black Tidings, a now-defunct Singapore-based sports consulting firm, solicited payments from athletes, either directly or indirectly, totalling €3.45 million (S$5.3 million) in exchange for covering up positive doping tests and allowing athletes to carry on competing.

The younger Diack has also emerged as a central figure in French judicial probes of suspected corruption involving the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and other major sporting events, and is accused of complicity in corruption and money laundering.

Believed to be living in Senegal, he could be tried in absentia.

French authorities have also been investigating allegations Diack Sr, also the former mayor of Dakar, Senegal's capital, received bribes for his votes in several bidding contests for high-profile sports events.

It is alleged the former International Olympic Committee member controlled votes of several African colleagues, using payments to fund political campaigns in Senegal, as well as to sustain a lavish lifestyle in Monaco, where the IAAF is based.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2019, with the headline 'Diack and son among six to stand trial for corruption'. Print Edition | Subscribe