Former IAAF president faces corruption and money-laundering charges

The trial of Lamine Diack, the former president of the IAAF (World Athletics), is to start in Paris today (Monday January 13).

The Senegalese 86-year-old was the head of athletics’ world governing body for 16 years, from 1999 until 2015, when he was succeeded by Seb Coe.

Diack has been under house arrest in Paris since November 2015 and his trial, in which he faces corruption and money-laundering charges, comes after four years of investigation by French authorities.

Former IAAF anti-doping director Gabriel Dolle and Diack’s former advisor Habib Cisse are also set to stand trial.

The trial also involves Diack’s son Papa Massata Diack, a former IAAF marketing consultant, plus former Russian athletics federation president and honorary treasurer of the IAAF Valentin Balakhnichev and former senior Russian coach for long-distance walkers and runners Alexei Melnikov, but they are not expected to attend the trial in person.

All six men deny their charges.

In 2016 Papa Massata Diack, Balakhnichev and Melnikov were given life bans from athletics and later filed appeals at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against their sanctions, while Dolle received a five-year ban.

The three life bans were upheld by the CAS in 2017.

According to the Guardian, French investigators are due to claim in court in Paris that Lamine Diack “offered a deal to delay doping sanctions against 23 Russian athletes in exchange for $1.5m in funding to help a friend win the 2012 Senegalese presidential election”.

The Guardian added that Papa Massata Diack had told the newspaper that the allegation is false.

Read more from the Guardian here.

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