Doping and corruption in athletics: the Diack father and son on trial in Paris

Dopage et corruption dans l'athlétisme: les Diack père et fils en procès à Paris

PARIS | The scandal had tarnished the image of the sport: the trial of the former head of world athletics, Lamine Diack, ruled with his son, away, and four players accused of a pact of corruption to protect Russian athletes doped, has started Monday in Paris.

Accompanied by his lawyers, the Senegalese 87-year-old arrived at 8: 30 a.m. local at the court of Paris, where he faces up to ten years in prison before the 32nd criminal chamber, for active and passive bribery, breach of trust and money laundering, organised.

“I have a very bad hearing (…) a state of health quite complicated (…), but I’m there”, launched in preamble, standing at the bar, the man with white hair, spectacles fixed on the nose with a thick elastic.

The case had precipitated the fall of the cacique of sports in the world with a thousand lives, former athlete, and political, became the first leader of non-european of the international athletics federation (IAAF, 1999-2015), and is now accused by the public prosecutor national financial have also put in place a “real criminal organization.”

At its sides appear one of his former advisers, the lawyer Habib Cisse, and the former head of the service’s anti-doping the IAAF, Gabriel Dollé, tried for bribery.

If Lamine Diack has prohibition to leave the country, the French justice has never been able to go to one of the suspects key and large absent from the trial, his son, Papa Massata Diack, a former powerful advisor marketing of the IAAF, which was requested from Dakar to the referral of the debate, as his two lawyers senegalese were not able to move in France. The request was rejected by the court, “PMD” being defended by his lawyer in paris, Me Antoine Beauquier.

Two other persons are missing, the former president of the Russian athletics Federation, Valentin Balakhnitchev, and the former national coach for long distance races, Alexey Melnikov, referred to as Papa Massata Diack by international arrest warrants.


The case had generated an earthquake in the international sport, subsequent investigations have revealed a real system of doping institutional framework in Russia, which is today in this country the risk of being banned from the next summer games in Tokyo, scheduled in 2021.

The facts date back to the early years in 2010, with the arrival in the arsenal of anti-doping the biological passport, which can detect changes in blood suspicious. The grip tightens on Russia, and in November 2011, a list of 23 athletes suspected of doping at the EPO is established. But the records of disciplinary proceedings have dragged on, allowing multiple athletes to participate in London olympics-2012.

Lamine Diack acknowledged that the sanctions had been staggered to avoid burdening the image of Russia and promote the negotiations on the television rights and sponsorships with a view of the World-2013 in Moscow. While he had contacts with the Kremlin, he also conceded that he had obtained a 1.5 million euros (2.27 million $) from Russia to campaign for the presidential election in senegal 2012 against outgoing president Abdoulaye Wade, finally defeated by Macky Sall. The French judges have deplored the lack of cooperation of Senegal and are in the order that Papa Massata Diack, has received a diplomatic passport in 2014.

But for the lawyers of Lamine Diack, the Russian athletes were eventually punished (most in 2014) and their client wanted to save the IAAF of bankruptcy.

The case has been able to see the light of day as the marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova, finally suspended, has asked for a refund to his blackmailers. A transfer of € 300 000 (454 000 $) to its profit has allowed it to be traced back to Papa Massata Diack. The names of several other athletes and more money to appear on notes seized from Habib Cissé, suggesting that they paid in order to enjoy protection, but the trace of the money has not been recovered.

Lamine Diack is also deemed to have allowed his son to take ownership of “several million euros” in the negotiations with the sponsors, either by imposing its companies as intermediaries, either by granting commissions “exorbitant”. The international federation, the civil party, claiming 24.6 million euros ($37.2 million) in damages to the defendants on this part, on a total loss which is estimated at $ 62 million.

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