DAKAR • Papa Massata Diack, son of disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) chief Lamine Diack, has slammed corruption allegations against him over the awarding of the 2016 Olympic Games to Rio as a "witch hunt".
Diack, who rarely speaks to the international media, told AFP in an exclusive interview on Monday that "Rio won fairly" as he refuted "in the most virulent manner" accusations made against him in the French daily Le Monde.
According to Le Monde, three days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the Games to Rio, Brazilian businessman Cesar Menezes Soares Filho paid US$1.5 million (S$2.1 million) to Pamodzi Sports Consulting, Diack's business, to favour the awarding of the Games to Rio.
At the time, his father was president of the IAAF and a voting member of the IOC. Diack acted as a marketing consultant for the IAAF.
"This company (Brazilian) was a client," said Diack of Filho's Matlock Capital Group, slamming "unfounded accusations".
RUBBISHING THE ACCUSATIONS
There is an unworthy witch hunt created around this case, while the investigation is not credible.
PAPA MASSATA DIACK , former IAAF marketing consultant and son of ex-IAAF chief Lamine Diack, claims the accusations against him and his father are unfounded.
Le Monde said "magistrates suspect manoeuvres intended to buy the votes of IOC members at the time of the designation".
"There is an unworthy witch hunt created around this case, while the investigation is not credible, has not been done in a professional way and (is) contradictory," said Diack.
The elder Diack has been charged by French authorities with corruption and money laundering.
The French judicial investigation, which initially focused on corruption within the IAAF, was extended in December 2015 to the awarding of the 2016 Olympics to Rio and the 2020 Games to Tokyo.
Since December 2015, Diack has been placed on Interpol's list of most wanted persons after an arrest warrant was issued by France in connection with the prosecution of his father.
Diack was last year banned for life by the IAAF ethics committee over corruption and cover-up allegations linked to Russian doping.
"They should come to Senegal to investigate and I can respond formally instead of organising leaks in the press," said Diack, whom the Senegalese government has indicated will not be extradited.
Diack also deplored the treatment of his 83-year-old father, "taken hostage" by France.
"They don't even want to grant him temporary release. They want to make him crack psychologically," he said.
Namibian ex-sprinter Frankie Fredericks, another person cited in Le Monde, on Monday stepped down from an IAAF task force investigating Russian doping amid a corruption probe.
"I have decided to step aside from the task force so that the integrity of its work is not questioned due to the allegations made against me in Le Monde," said Fredericks.
"It is important that the task force's mission is seen as free and fair with no outside influence."
Le Monde on Friday said that Fredericks, a four-time Olympic silver medallist, received nearly US$300,000 from Pamodzi on the day Rio won the right to host the 2016 Games.
IAAF president Sebastian Coe has appointed Slovenian ex-high jumper Rozle Prezelj to replace Fredericks on the task force.