Prosecutors want Diack and son to face charges

PARIS • French prosecutors have recommended that the former head of athletics' governing body IAAF, Lamine Diack, and his son stand trial for allegedly delaying doping sanctions against Russia in return for payment, sources told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

They want the Senegalese, who led the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) from 1999 to 2015, be tried for corruption and money laundering.

Both Lamine and his son, Papa Massata, a former marketing consultant to the IAAF, have refused to cooperate with prosecutors, and investigating magistrate Renaud van Ruymbeke must now decide within three months if the case should go to trial.

The French probe began in 2015 when Britain's Sebastian Coe took over from Diack as IAAF president.

The backdrop to the investigation is the alleged system of state-sponsored doping uncovered in Russia by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada).

Prosecutors allege that Lamine, 85, was prepared to accept funding for political campaigns in Senegal in return for lenient treatment by IAAF anti-doping officials of Russian athletes.

Also in their sights is Diack's former adviser, Habib Cisse, and the IAAF's former anti-doping chief Gabriel Dolle. Officials recommend that both men be charged with "passive corruption".

In 2017, Papa Massata branded the corruption allegations against him "a witch hunt" and accused France of having "taken hostage" his father.

The IAAF suspended Russia in November 2015 after the allegation of state involvement in doping emerged.

The country was allowed back into the Olympic fold last year, but the IAAF continues to ban Russian athletes from competing under their own flag.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2019, with the headline 'Prosecutors want Diack and son to face charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe