Lamine Diack Admits To Covering Up Doping Cases As Athletics Chief To Safeguard Russian Sponsorships

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Lamine Diack, the former head of global track and field,  told his corruption trial in Paris today that he had agreed to delay investigations into Russian doping cases for the sake of the sport’s “financial health” at time when athletics bosses were in talks with Russian sponsors.

Diack, who as head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF, now World Athletics) for 16 years from 1999 to 2015 was one of the most powerful leaders at the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told the court that he had ordered the delay of inquiries into positive tests after 23 Russian athletes failed anti-doping checks.

His case, in which 87-year-old Diack faces a jail term of up to 10 years f convicted, could have serious implications for the IOC, Olympic governance and impact ongoing World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigations into Russian doping. Said Diack:

“It was mainly for the financial health of the IAAF. The financial health of the IAAF had to be safeguarded and I was prepared to make that compromise.”

Diack, from Senegal, has admitted that bans were delayed in order to allow the Russian athletes concerned to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games and the World Athletics Championships in Moscow in 2013.

The IAAF leader’s aim was to prevent the cases derailing talks with prospective Russian sponsors, including state-owned bank VTB and the RTR broadcaster.

In the money-for-doping-coverups case, prosecutors say Diack “directly or indirectly” demanded 3.45 million euros ($3.9 million) from Russian athletes in order to have their names cleared. The cover-ups, which were organised under an operation described as “full protection”, allowed some of the Russians to win medals at the London Olympics despite them having tested positive for doping.

In court today, Lamine Diack refused to be drawn on allegations that he obtained $1.5 million of Russian funds to help back Macky Sall’s campaign for the 2012 Senegal presidential election – which he won – in exchange for the “full protection” cover-up.

Diack is being tried for corruption, money laundering and breach of trust. The trial continues and is expected to conclude next week.

2 comments

  1. avatar
    Richard

    This absolutely infuriates me! What dirty secrets are hiding in FINA’s closet?????